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The Intracept Procedure


The Intracept Procedure is a cutting-edge, ultra-minimally invasive treatment designed to alleviate vertebrogenic chronic low back pain (CLBP).  This innovative approach targets the basivertebral nerve (BVN) within the vertebrae, which is responsible for transmitting pain signals from the inflamed vertebral endplates to the brain. It is an excellent technique to potentially avoid fusion and/or artificial disc replacement and preserve the normal anatomy as much as possible. 

When is the Intracept Procedure Needed?

Over time, vertebral endplates located on either side of a spinal disc can sustain damage. This damage leads to inflammation, resulting in persistent low back pain. The disc and endplate, both integral parts of supporting your spinal column, produce similar low back pain symptoms. However, endplate pain is uniquely associated with specific MRI-visible changes known as Modic endplate changes. These changes are suggestive of endplate inflammation. This then causes discogenic low back pain or vertebrogenic low back pain.

Patients suffering from vertebrogenic pain often report:

  • Centralized pain in the lower back
  • Increased low back pain during physical activities
  • Significant stiffness trying to get up after sitting, standing, or sleeping and  trying to get up in the morning
  • Discomfort during prolonged sitting
  • Pain intensification while bending forward or during bending and lifting actions
  • Achiness if standing for some period of time

To determine if a patient’s pain is vertebrogenic, we utilize MRI scans to identify the characteristic Modic endplate changes.

How Does the Intracept Procedure Work?

The Intracept Procedure is a same-day, outpatient procedure, typically lasting about an hour. Here’s what to expect:

  • Preparation: Patients are placed under anesthesia for their comfort and safety.
  • Procedure: A radiofrequency probe size of a small pen is introduced to heat the basivertebral nerve, effectively halting its ability to send pain signals to the brain.
  • Recovery: As a minimally invasive procedure, recovery times are generally shorter than traditional surgeries.  Patients are allowed to gradually resume all activities and should see a significant gradual improvement in their low back pain for the next 6-8 weeks after the procedure.  Results vary for every patient, but most patients experience 70-80% relief from their low back pain.  Please keep in mind that just with any other treatment, a small percentage of patients may not see any relief.  

Notably, the Intracept Procedure is implant-free, ensuring the spine’s overall structure remains intact. This also means that future treatment options for other spine conditions are preserved.   What is beautiful about this procedure is that you are not burning any bridges and can always do more invasive procedures down the road if needed. This is an excellent alternative to traditional fusion and artificial disc replacement procedures.

Unique Benefits of the Intracept Procedure

  • Targeted Relief: The procedure directly addresses the basivertebral nerve, the primary pain transmitter from inflamed endplates.
  • Preservation: The procedure is implant-free, ensuring the spine’s natural structure is maintained.
  • Outpatient Convenience: Patients can undergo the procedure in an outpatient surgery center, eliminating the need for prolonged hospital stays. Patients often experience limited blood loss and can be home the same day, often being allowed to drive the next day and resume normal activities.

Long-term Efficacy: The BVN, once treated, has not demonstrated the ability to regenerate as a pain-transmitting nerve, offering long-term relief.

Book a Consultation with The Spine Pro

The Intracept Procedure is a revolutionary approach to treating vertebrogenic pain, offering hope to those who have been searching for a lasting solution to chronic low back pain by avoiding fusion and/or artificial disc replacement.  At The Spine Pro, under the supervision of Dr. Melamed, we are committed to providing our patients with the latest in spine care, ensuring they can return to a life free from debilitating pain.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, click here or call (424) 21-SPINE.