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Korean J Pain. 2012 Jul;25(3):155-60. doi: 10.3344/kjp.2012.25.3.155. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Results of intradiscal pulsed radiofrequency for lumbar discogenic pain: comparison with intradiscal electrothermal therapy.

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Pain Management Clinic, Department of Anesthesiology, Shiga University of Medical Science Hospital, Otsu, Shiga, Japan.



We have developed an intradiscal pulsed radiofrequency (Disc PRF) technique, using Diskit II® needles (NeuroTherm, Wilmington, MA, USA), as a minimally invasive treatment option for chronic discogenic low back pain (LBP). The purpose of this study was to compare the representative outcomes of Disc PRF and Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy (IDET) in terms of pain relief and reduction of disability.


Thirty-one patients with chronic discogenic LBP who underwent either Disc PRF (n = 15) or IDET (n = 16) were enrolled in the study. A Diskit II® needle (15-cm length, 20-gauge needle with a 20-mm active tip) was placed centrally in the disc. PRF was applied for 15 min at a setting of 5 × 50 ms/s and 60 V. The pain intensity score on a 0-10 numeric rating scale (NRS) and the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire (RMDQ) were assessed pretreatment and at 1, 3, and 6 months post-treatment.


The mean NRS was significantly improved from 7.2 ± 0.6 pretreatment to 2.5 ± 0.9 in the Disc PRF group, and from 7.5 ± 1.0 to 1.7 ± 1.5 in the IDET group, at the 6-month follow-up. The mean RMDQ also showed significant improvement in both the Disc PRF group and the IDET group at the 6-month follow-up. There were no significant differences in the pretreatment NRS and RMDQ scores between the groups.


Disc PRF appears to be an alternative to IDET as a safe, minimally invasive treatment option for patients with chronic discogenic LBP.


Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy; intervertebral disc degeneration; low back pain; pulsed radiofrequency treatment

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