The Intracept Procedure

The Intracept Procedure is a minimally invasive treatment that helps treat chronic low back pain, specifically vertebrogenic pain. If you’ve tried several nonsurgical treatments without much success at reducing your pain, the Intracept Procedure may be the right treatment for you.

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Learn About Intracept

Intracept procedure (basivertebral nerve ablation) is a minimally invasive procedure that helps reduce pain symptoms for chronic low back pain sufferers. This treatment uses radiofrequency energy to interrupt nerves from carrying pain signals from damaged discs in the spine to the brain. The Intracept procedure specifically treats vertebrogenic pain, which is pain caused by damage to the vertebral endplates from everyday wear and tear. 

Rather than undergoing major open surgery to reduce your vertebrogenic pain, the Intracept procedure provides the same effective, long-term results with less recovery time. During treatment, the surgeon makes a small incision and inserts an instrument into the affected vertebrae which are used to burn the nerves of the damaged discs. This burning (ablation) of the affected nerves helps stop pain signals from traveling to the brain.

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What is an Intracept Back Procedure?

Intracept procedure is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure used to treat vertebrogenic pain. Vertebrogenic pain is pain caused by damage to the vertebral endplates (the top and bottom edges of the vertebrae in the front portion of the spinal column). Daily wear and tear can over time cause the vertebral endplates to degenerate, resulting in pain and discomfort. 

While chronic back pain is prevalent and can be caused by a variety of factors (i.e. injury, arthritis, etc.), vertebrogenic pain is specifically caused by the pain from the nerves inside the vertebrae. This is what separates the intracept procedure for relief of chronic back pain

Unlike other treatment methods, the Intracept procedure uses radiofrequency energy to interrupt nerves from carrying pain signals from damaged discs in the lower back to the brain. The procedure involves passing radiofrequency energy through a probe to heat and kill the nerve, thus disrupting and preventing the nerve from sending any pain signals from the damaged discs in the spine to the brain.

Intracept Procedure Success Rate

The Intracept procedure is a safe and effective procedure that provides long-term pain relief. Clinical trials found that the Intracept procedure helped reduce vertebrogenic pain by 50-75% or more weeks post-procedure. One study in particular found that 38% of patients reported being pain-free, and 69% of patients reported a reduction in pain by at least 50% one-year post-treatment.

Therefore, countless clinical research studies have found that the Intracept procedure provides safe and effective results in terms of reducing patients’ pain symptoms. Not to mention, providing patients with long-term pain relief for many years post-procedure.

Common Signs, Symptoms, and Causes of Vertebrogenic Pain

Intracept procedure is used to treat chronic low back pain, specifically vertebrogenic pain. In other words, the Intracept procedure does not treat all forms of back pain, only vertebrogenic pain. Vertebrogenic pain oftentimes doesn’t respond to traditional nonsurgical forms of treatment (i.e. physical therapy, injections, oral medications).

While this can be frustrating for chronic vertebrogenic pain sufferers, the Intracept procedure offers effective, long-lasting results.

Unfortunately, because vertebrogenic pain is caused by daily wear and tear on your vertebral endplates, little can be done to prevent one’s risk of experiencing this condition. This is why early diagnosis and seeking appropriate treatment are essential.

Various signs and symptoms can point to vertebrogenic pain, including:

●     Chronic low back pain (oftentimes in the middle of the lower back)

●     Pain that worsens with physical activity, sitting, bending, or lifting

●     Signs of change via MRI scan

Because vertebrogenic pain can be difficult to diagnose, an MRI scan is essential to make a proper diagnosis. In an MRI, your doctor will visibly be able to see the degeneration of the vertebral endplates in the spine that is causing you pain and discomfort.

A man with back preparing for an Epidural Steroid Injection

Who is the Ideal Candidate for this Treatment?

If you’ve been suffering from vertebrogenic pain, you may be a good candidate for the Intracept procedure. Rather than modifying your life around your pain symptoms, the Intracept procedure spine treatment provides safe, effective, and long-lasting results that can significantly improve your quality of life.

However, not everyone who has vertebrogenic pain is automatically the perfect candidate for this treatment. Candidates for the Intracept procedure must exhibit the following criteria:

●    Chronic back pain for at least 6 months

●     Ineffective results after trying several nonsurgical treatment options (i.e. physical therapy, oral medications, injections, etc.)

●     Visible changes in the vertebral endplates of the spine via MRI results

Doctor consulting with patient Back problems Physical therapy co

Doctor consulting with patient Back problems Physical therapy concept

What to Expect During Treatment

The Intracept procedure is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that can take anywhere from 40 to 80 minutes to complete. Depending on how many nerves are affected will influence the total time of the procedure. A maximum of four nerves can be treated at a given time. 

During treatment, the patient will go under general anesthesia. The surgeon will make a small incision in the patient’s back. Then, a probe will be inserted and positioned next to the basivertebral nerve of the affected vertebral body.

From there, radiofrequency energy will be delivered and will burn and kill the nerve. This prevents the nerve from passing pain signals from the damaged disc to the brain.

Intracept Procedure Recovery Time

The Intracept spine procedure spine treatment requires minimal recovery time. Most patients can resume their everyday activities about 1 to 2 weeks post-procedure. Likewise, patients notice improvements in their vertebrogenic pain a couple of weeks post-treatment, with complete results noticeable about 3 months post-treatment.

While complications are rare, there are some potential Intracept procedure side effects patients should be aware of, including:

●     Infection

●     Bleeding

●     Nerve Damage

●     Increased Back Pain

How Soon Will I Notice Results?

Patients begin to experience improvements to their chronic low back pain about 2 to 6 weeks after their Intracept procedure, with significant improvements noticed 3 months post-procedure. Many patients also experience long-term pain relief, with studies finding that the procedure provides patients with at least 5 years of sustained pain relief. 

The Intracept procedure is also a one-time procedure that does not need to be repeated, giving patients long-lasting, effective results they can count on. 

Intracept Procedure Pros and Cons

If you’ve been suffering from chronic vertebrogenic pain, the Intracept procedure can be an effective treatment with many great advantages. However, it’s important to understand some potential disadvantages cannot be ignored.

Advantages of the Intracept Procedure

The Intracept procedure provides a wide range of benefits to patients, including:

 ●     Minimally Invasive: This procedure requires only a small incision, meaning there is minimal scarring and risk involved.

●     Long-Term Solution: Patients experience long-term pain relief, with many patients experiencing at least 5 years of sustained pain relief.

●     Effective Results in Pain Reduction: Many patients experience significant improvements in reducing their pain symptoms.

●     Short Recovery Time: This is an outpatient procedure where most patients experience a full recovery within 1 to 2 weeks post-procedure.

●     One-Time Treatment: This is a one-time treatment that provides long-term results; therefore, there is no need for this procedure to be repeated.

Disadvantages of the Intracept Procedure

While the Intracept procedure provides effective, long-lasting results, there are some potential disadvantages to this treatment. 

●     Not a Treatment for All Back Pain Sufferers: This treatment is not effective at treating all back pain issues. This treatment is designed to specifically treat vertebrogenic pain. 

●     Potential Intracept Procedure Side Effects: Although rare, there is a potential risk of developing complications post-procedure.

●     Not Immediate Results: Patients do not experience full results immediately. It may take a few weeks to months for complete, noticeable improvements in reducing your pain. 

While there are some potential disadvantages linked to the Intracept procedure, overwhelmingly this procedure can be a life-changing treatment. If you’ve been suffering from chronic vertebrogenic pain, and have tried several nonsurgical treatments without much success, the Intracept procedure can be a great treatment option.

Intracept Procedure Near Me

Chronic low back pain can significantly impact your ability to lead a healthy, happy life. Rather than ignoring your pain– hoping it will go away on its own– or modifying your life around your pain, there are various nonsurgical and surgical treatment options available to help better manage your pain symptoms.

 For those suffering from vertebrogenic pain, the Intracept procedure provides the opportunity for patients to reduce their pain and take back control over their lives. At the Pain and Spine Specialists, we offer the Intracept procedure Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia so patients can experience life with less pain. We also offer a wide range of other treatments to help better manage your pain symptoms so you can get back to living a normal, healthy lifestyle.

Contact us today to learn more about how our team of advanced pain specialists can help create a tailored treatment plan to better manage your pain symptoms.

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We Are Intracept Specialists

At Pain and Spine Specialists we have a premier team of Intracept specialists in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia who can help relieve your chronic pain. Our mission is to provide you with comprehensive pain management treatment options to better manage your pain to improve your quality of life.

Our Providers

At Pain and Spine Specialists, our team of physicians and nurse practitioners are committed to giving you the most effective treatment when treating your pain. We believe that all patients should have access to quality care, and that is why you can find us conveniently located throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

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Please note: We accept Workers Compensation Insurance and Personal Injury Patients 

Please note: We accept Workers Compensation Insurance and Personal Injury Patients 


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