St. Elizabeth Healthcare | Spine Center | Spinal Intracept Procedure


Intracept Procedure: Long-Lasting Relief for Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain affects more than 31 million Americans each year – and it’s the number one reason why people see their doctor. Most back pain typically goes away with over-the-counter medications, stretching exercises and other at-home remedies.

However, if you experience back pain lasting more than six months, an MRI can determine if you have any chronic inflammatory changes in the bone. When this occurs, the source of the pain is typically in the difficult-to-treat nerve endings of the bone.

Now, St. Elizabeth Healthcare offers a new, cutting-edge procedure for durable relief of chronic low back pain. It’s the only hospital-based provider in the Tri-State region to offer this treatment.

“We have a lot of chronic back pain patients who have tried procedures and medications to no avail,” says Lance Hoffman, MD, Interventional Pain Management Specialist at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “They’re understandably frustrated that they continue to live with chronic pain. Spinal Intracept is an effective solution to treat chronic low back pain at its source.”

How Does the Intracept Procedure Work?

The Intracept procedure denervates the vertebral bodies – leading to significant and long-term pain relief. During the procedure, the specialist makes a tiny nick incision to introduce the needle into the vertebral body. The team then uses X-ray technology to visualize the needle and guide it into the bone within the vertebral body.

Once the needle is in place, the team uses a small shepherd hook-type device to make a small channel toward the middle of the bone to the nerve base. An Intracept probe

(electrode) is placed into the vertebral body and emits radiofrequency energy (heat) to the base nerve to disable it. This process is called basivertebral ablation.

The Intracept procedure involves making a small incision over each vertebral level causing the patient’s pain to denervate the affected vertebral bodies. It takes approximately 15 minutes per level, with the entire procedure lasting less than one hour. The small incisions are closed with surgical glue. After spending time in recovery, patients can return home and resume normal activities within a few days.

Intracept Procedure for Chronic Back Pain

The Intracept procedure is an option for patients who have failed traditional treatment therapy for several months. Those treatments are generally medications and steroid injections. The Intracept procedure ablates the nerves causing the pain – eliminating the source of pain on long term basis.

“The procedure gives patients the possibility of long-term relief from pain that hasn’t been successfully treated until now.”

Data released in the European Spine Journal in 2021 shows significant pain relief for chronic back pain patients: 33% of Intracept patients reported no pain and half of the patients have at least a 75% reduction in pain at the five-year mark.

Additional benefits include:

· FDA-approved

· Improved functional outcome

· Minimally invasive with short recovery time

· No device insertion

· One-time outpatient procedure

· Significant improvement in quality of life

To learn more about this specialty procedure, ask your physician for a referral and schedule an appointment with the team today.