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Proceedings Paper

Thermal therapy for degenerative disc disease
Author(s): Thomas P. Ryan
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Paper Abstract

Low back pain is the most common cause of morbidity and chronic pain in the US. In addition to conservative therapy and surgery, alternate therapies are being crafted to relieve pam for the patient. Recently, there has been activity in thermal treatment for spinal disc to shrink collagen and ablate abnormal nerve structures that may be the cause of pain and debilitation. A computer simulation was done comparing thermal techniques and extent of damage possible in regards to the bony endplates, peripheral structures like spinal cord and nerves, and collagen shrinkage. Monopolar and bipolar radiofrequency devices were simulated as well as purely conductive sources. A finite element model was used that incorporated electrical and thermal properties changing with temperature. Blood flow was also modeled with regard to temperature. Regions were analyzed regarding the zone of shrinkage and vessel necrosis as well as a second zone of nerve obliteration.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 2001
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 4247, Thermal Treatment of Tissue: Energy Delivery and Assessment, (1 June 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.427858
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas P. Ryan, Ethicon, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4247:
Thermal Treatment of Tissue: Energy Delivery and Assessment
Thomas P. Ryan, Editor(s)

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