Basivertebral Nerve Ablation (Intracept Procedure)
Basivertebral Nerve Ablation, also referred to as the Intracept Procedure, is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure used to help relieve or eliminate low back pain by using radiofrequency energy to target the basivertebral nerve.
Is Basivertebral Nerve Ablation right for me?
What conditions does Basivertebral Nerve Ablation treat?
Basivertebral Nerve Ablation treats chronic low back pain in those who have previously tried other more conservative options like physical therapy and medication management but have Type 1 or Type 2 Modic changes shown on an MRI. Type 1 changes are typically associated with an active inflammatory process in the bone marrow and endplate regions, and they may be linked to conditions such as vertebral osteomyelitis or discitis (infections of the vertebral bone and intervertebral discs). Type 2 changes are thought to represent a healing response following the inflammatory process seen in Type 1 changes. The inflammatory response has subsided, and fatty replacement of the bone marrow occurs as part of the healing process. It’s important to note that the presence of Modic changes on an MRI does not in itself establish a diagnosis. The correlation between the MRI findings and clinical symptoms is essential for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management of back pain.
How does the Intracept Procedure work to control my low back pain?
Intracept uses radiofrequency heat to ablate and destroy the basivertebral nerve located within the vertebrae of the spine. This energy ablates the nerve and thus eliminates the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
PREPARING FOR TREATMENT
What can I expect during the Intracept Procedure?
Once the site is prepped for the procedure, local anesthesia will be applied to the targeted site to further reduce pain. Under fluoroscopy, using a transpedicular approach, an introducer cannula will slowly be advanced to enter the pedicle of the vertebral body. A curved cannular is then used to create a path to the base of the basivertebral nerve. A radiofrequency probe is inserted into the curved channel leading to the nerve. Radiofrequency heat from the probe is used to ablate the nerve and interrupt the pain signals being sent to the central nervous system. The basivertebral nerve is the only nerve that does not regenerate in the body. This means long-lasting pain relief for patients and the unlikelihood of having to repeat procedures in the future.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER THE PROCEDURE?
The Intracept Procedure is done in an outpatient setting and allows the patient to go home shortly after the procedure. Most patients experience immediate pain relief and are typically able to resume normal activities within one to two weeks.