This minimally invasive procedure is generally performed on an outpatient basis. Your back will be sterilized at the area where the treatment will be administered. A local anesthetic and a mild sedative may be used to limit discomfort during treatment. You will remain awake and alert during the procedure so you can communicate with your doctor.
With the help of X-ray guidance, your doctor will insert a needle into the disc that is causing pain. Once the needle is in place, a catheter is introduced. The thermal catheter is gradually heated to 194 degrees Fahrenheit. Your pain level will be monitored closely. If you feel pain that is a reproduction of your usual back pain, it is an indication that the heat is being applied to the right area.
After the treatment is complete, the needle and catheter are removed. The insertion site will be bandaged and you will be ready to go home.