Skip to main content

The Intracept Procedure (Radiofrequency Ablation Of The Basivertebral Nerve)

Innovative Pain Specialists -  - Pain Management Specialist

Innovative Pain Specialists

Pain Management Specialists & Spine Specialists located in Arlington Heights, IL & Libertyville, IL

If you have chronic low back pain, you may be a candidate for the Intracept Procedure.  This procedure is also known as Radiofrequency Ablation of the Basivertebral Nerves within the vertebrae, and it is indicated for those patients with chronic low back pain without significant pain into the legs.  This procedure effectively treats low back pain that is caused by lumbar degenerative disc disease leading to inflammation, edema and erosion of the vertebral endplates in your spine.  

At Innovative Pain Specialists in Arlington Heights and Libertyville, Illinois, our board-certified pain management specialists, Dr. Paul Marsiglia, and Dr. Demetrios Louis, offer the latest cutting-edge technique to manage your chronic low back pain.  The Intracept procedure is a minimally invasive procedure that will alleviate discomfort and restore your quality of life without the need for more invasive lumbar fusion surgery.

Call our office to learn more or book an appointment online today.

The Intracept Procedure Q&A

What is the Intracept Procedure?

The Intracept Procedure (also known as Radiofrequency Ablation of the basivertebral nerve) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat Vertebrogenic pain, or pain coming from degenerative discs and endplates in your vertebrae.  Your pain specialist will first make a very tiny incision and insert a cannula (small tube) into the vertebrae under x-ray guidance.  A probe is then inserted through this cannula in order to access the basivertebral nerve within the vertebrae.  The basivertebral nerve is a sensory nerve that innervates the endplate, which is the portion of your vertebrae that comes into close contact with your intervertebral disc.  Once the probe is in close proximity to the basivertebral nerve, your physician will use Radiofrequency Ablation to disrupt the function of the basivertebral nerve and alleviate your chronic low back pain.  The process of ablating the nerve usually takes only 7 minutes!


What are the symptoms of Vertebrogenic pain and Degenerative Disc Disease?

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Low back pain greater than 6 months
  • Pain worse with sitting
  • Pain that worsens with bending or leaning forward
  • Ongoing pain despite epidural injections and nerve blocks
  • Ongoing pain despite physical therapy

Consequences of untreated Vertebrogenic pain might include worsening low back pain, decreased quality of life, decreased ability to engage in your daily activities, insomnia, and depression.


What are the risk factors for degenerative disc disease or Vertebrogenic pain?

Chronic low back pain due to degenerative disc disease and Vertebrogenic pain can happen to anyone, but common risk factors include:

  • Age greater than 40 years old
  • Arthritis
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Physically demanding work or lifestyle
  • Family history 
  • Obesity

You can’t always prevent Vertebrogenic pain, but adopting healthy habits can help. Maintain a healthy weight, eat nutritious foods, and get regular exercise.


Is the Intracept procedure right for me?

To determine if you’re a candidate for the Intracept Procedure at Innovative Pain Specialists, your provider will review your medical history, assess your symptoms, check an MRI of the lumbar spine, and complete a physical exam.  It is important for you to describe how your pain impacts your life. 

Your physician may also order x-rays, obtain bloodwork, and use other clinical information in order to properly diagnose your condition. 


What should I expect during the Intracept Procedure?

During the Intracept Procedure, you will be provided with anesthesia in order to help you fall asleep because it is important for you to be still during this procedure.  Then, under x-ray guidance, your physician will locate the vertebra to be treated and make a small incision in the skin of your low back.  At this point your physician will place a small tube (or cannula) through the skin and into the affected vertebrae under x-ray guidance.  At this point, a radiofrequency probe is inserted through the cannula so that your physician will perform radiofrequency ablation of the basivertebral nerve.  After several minutes, the radiofrequency ablation of the nerve is complete and the cannula is removed.  Your physician will typically close the incision with a skin adhesive and simple bandage.  There are no sutures or large incisions.  The entire procedure typically takes 40-60 minutes. 


What happens after the procedure?

After undergoing the Intracept Procedure, you will go home the same day.  The recovery period is usually quite short and often includes low-impact activity such as walking, as well as getting plenty of rest.  You can ice the treatment area if you feel some soreness.  Recovery from the procedures is typically days or up to 1-2 weeks as there is very little post-operative pain.  Importantly, overall relief from the procedure might not be noticeable until up to 2-4 weeks after the procedure. 


Can I see a video illustrating the procedure?

!Relievant_Intracept_Physician_TF921_024_High_Rev_E from Relievant Medsystems on Vimeo.

To find out if you’re a candidate for the Intracept Procedure at Innovative Pain Specialists, call the nearest office or schedule an appointment online today.