SPINE Journal Studies Support ORATEC's IDET Back Pain Treatment Two Peer Reviewed Articles Report Substantial Reduction in Pain

Oct 19, 2000, 01:00 ET from ORATEC Interventions, Inc.

    MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ --
 ORATEC Interventions, Inc. (Nasdaq:   OTEC) today announced that two peer
 reviewed articles in the October 2000 edition of SPINE journal show the
 effectiveness of the company's SpineCATH IntraDiscal ElectroThermal Therapy
 (IDET(TM)) system with a minimum one year follow-up.
     The studies report that the majority of patients treated with IDET
 experience a significant reduction in pain and improvement in physical
 function.  These clinical results are consistent with other research that has
 been previously published or presented on IDET.  The company believes that
 these additional peer reviewed journal articles will provide payors and health
 care providers further support in offering IDET to their customers and
     Studies Show Consistent Results
     The first article discusses a case-control study which was conducted by
 Michael Karasek, M.D., past president of the International Spinal Injection
 Society (ISIS) and chairman of Sacred Heart Medical Center's Pain Department
 in Eugene, Oregon, and Nikolai Bogduk, M.D., of the Newcastle Bone and Joint
 Institute, University of Newcastle, in Australia.
     "Twelve-Month Follow-Up of a Controlled Trial of Intradiscal Thermal
 Anuloplasty for Back Pain Due to Internal Disc Disruption" compared
 36 patients treated with IDET and a control group of 17 patients treated with
 rehabilitation therapy.  The two groups suffered from low back pain for an
 average of two and one-half years.
     One year after undergoing treatment, 60 percent of the IDET patients
 reported both pain relief of 50 percent or greater and their return to work.
 In contrast, only six percent of the control group experienced the same level
 of pain relief.
     The second article reports on a prospective study titled "Intradiscal
 Electrothermal Treatment for Chronic Discogenic Low Back Pain:  A Prospective
 Outcome Study with Minimum 1-Year Follow-Up" and was co-authored by Jeff Saal,
 M.D., who is past president of the North American Spine Society (NASS), and
 Joel Saal, M.D.  They are assistant clinical professors at Stanford University
 School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California.
     Their study included 62 patients who had chronic, unremitting low back
 pain for an average of 5 years, and were unresponsive to non-operative care,
 such as physical therapy and steroid injections.  Each patient had been
 offered the choice of chronic pain management, spinal fusion surgery, or the
 minimally invasive IDET procedure.
     An average of 16 months after treatment, more than 70 percent of the
 study's patients showed significant decreases in pain and increases in
 activity.  In addition, the study noted, "Ninety-seven percent (97%) of the
 private pay patients and 83% of the worker's compensation patients returned to
     Dr. Jeff Saal will be presenting the latest two year follow-up data at the
 NASS meeting in New Orleans on Thursday, October 26.
     Reprints of the two SPINE articles will be available from ORATEC by
 telephone at 888-996-1996 or e-mail at marketing@oratec.com.
     ORATEC Interventions develops and markets innovative medical devices that
 use controlled thermal energy to treat spine and joint disorders.  The company
 currently markets two minimally invasive systems, the SpineCATH IDET system to
 treat chronic low back pain caused by degenerative disc disease and the
 ElectroThermal Arthroscopy System to treat joint disorders.  Its proprietary
 systems use heat to modify, cut, or remove damaged or stretched soft tissue.
 The company markets its products to orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, and
 pain management specialists.  More than 2,700 physicians have performed over
 185,000 procedures using ORATEC's technologies.
     Except for historical information, the statements in this news release are
 forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties that could cause
 actual results to differ materially from those in such forward-looking
 statements.  Potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited
 to, the need for physicians to support the use of the company's products, the
 need to establish reimbursement from payors, the company's lack of long term
 clinical results, the need for market acceptance of the company's products,
 the company's need to train physicians, and the company's need to comply with
 FDA and other regulations.  Further information regarding these and other
 risks is included in the company's report on Form 10-Q, filed with the SEC.
     CONTACT:  Nancy V. Westcott, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President
 Administration, of ORATEC Interventions, Inc., 650-369-9904, or fax,
 650-369-9905, or investorrelations@oratec.com.

SOURCE ORATEC Interventions, Inc.