At AOSMI, we are committed to staying on the cutting-edge of pain medicine so that we can provide the best treatment options for our patients. One of the recent developments in the field is the Intracept Procedure, offered by Dr. Del Guercio for patients, a minimally invasive pain management procedure that has been found to help patients with chronic low back pain. This innovative treatment targets vertebrogenic pain, caused by disc degeneration and wear-and-tear damage to the vertebral endplates of your spine, which triggers inflammation and discomfort.
Here’s how it works: the procedure focuses on the basivertebral nerve (BVN) within your spine, which transmits pain signals from inflamed endplates to your brain. Intracept applies radiofrequency energy directly to this nerve using a probe, disrupting pain signal transmission. This straightforward outpatient procedure is implant-free, takes just an hour, and provides enduring relief.
What is Vertebrogenic Pain?
Vertebrogenic pain occurs when the endplates of your vertebrae get damaged. Imagine your spine as a stack of building blocks called vertebrae, and in between them, you have these cushion-like disks. The endplates are like the connectors between the blocks and the cushions. They do two important things: first, they help spread out the pressure from the cushions to keep everything safe. Second, they send nutrients to these cushions, like how blood vessels bring food to your cells.
Inside the bone of the vertebra is a network of blood vessels and pain detectors connected to a nerve called the basivertebral nerve. So, when those endplates get damaged, it can activate those pain detectors, which is what causes vertebrogenic pain
Wondering if Intracept is right for you? Ideal candidates typically have:
- Chronic Low Back Pain with Modic Changes: At least six months of persistent low back pain associated with Modic changes. Modic changes are bone marrow lesions seen within a vertebral body of your spine on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Your doctor will identify candidates with a thorough history and physical exam, as well as with imaging techniques such as MRI or CT of the lumbar spine.
- Failed Conservative Treatments: Prior unsuccessful attempts with therapies like physical therapy, medications, and injections.
- No Major Spinal Instability: Generally not recommended for those with severe spinal instability or conditions like spondylolisthesis.
The Intracept Procedure offers numerous benefits:
- Effective and Targeted Pain Relief: Precisely targets the pain source, often leading to significant pain reduction.
- Long-Lasting Results: Many patients report lasting pain relief well beyond the procedure. Studies have shown that 1-year post treatment, 69% of patients reported >50% reduction in pain while 38% reported being pain-free. Studies have also shown that 2-years and 5-years post-treatment, 33% of patients have reported being pain-free.
- Minimally Invasive: Requires only a small incision, reducing post-operative pain and complications.
- Preservation of Spinal Stability: Maintains spine stability.
- Improved Quality of Life: Empowers individuals to regain mobility and enjoy life.
To learn more, check out this video explanation from Dr. Del Guercio.
If you are experiencing chronic low back pain, and have not found significant improvement in pain from your standard treatment, please request an appointment today to discuss if the Intracept Procedure may be right for you. Here at AOSMI, our goal is to help you bring your pain under your control, so that you can live your healthiest and strongest life.