Study Design. Prospective longitudinal study with a minimum 2-year follow-up.
Objective. To assess the long-term outcome of a group of patients with chronic discogenic low back pain who had failed to improve with comprehensive nonoperative care and who were subsequently treated with intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET).
Summary of Background Data. Previous reports of patient outcomes at 1 year after IDET have demonstrated statistically significant improvement.
Methods. The study group comprised 58 patients with chronic symptoms of more than 6 months who failed to improve with nonoperative care and subsequently underwent IDET. VAS pain scores, SF-36 scores, and sitting tolerance times were collected pretreatment and at 6, 12, and 24 months.
Results. Mean duration of pre-IDET symptoms was 60.7 months. The minimum follow-up at data collection was 24 months. The study group (n = 58) demonstrated a significant improvement in pain as demonstrated by statistically significant improvement in VAS scores and bodily pain SF-36 scores. The IDET-treated group demonstrated a significant improvement in physical function as noted by statistically significant improvement in sitting tolerance times and physical function SF-36 scores. Bodily pain and physical function scores demonstrated significant improvement between the 1- and 2-year observation points. Additionally, quality of life improvement was demonstrated by a statistically significant improvement in all the SF-36 subscales.
Conclusions. A cohort of patients with chronic discogenic low back pain who had failed to improve with comprehensive nonoperative care demonstrated a statistically significant improvement in pain, physical function, and quality of life at 2 years after IDET.