C. Lan Fotopoulos, M.D., is an interventional physiatrist specializing in minimally invasive and interventional procedures in the treatment of spinal disorders, including epidural injections, vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty, radiofrequency ablation, spinal cord stimulation and sacroplasty. From skillful diagnosis to advanced treatment options and attentive follow-up care, you’ll find a comprehensive range of orthopedic services at Dickson-Diveley Orthopaedics.
Q: What is the Intracept Procedure?
A: When patients don’t respond well to nonsurgical treatment methods for lower back pain, they often think spinal fusion surgery is their only remaining option. But for some, there is another type of treatment that could relieve their back pain: the Intracept Procedure. It’s an outpatient, minimally invasive procedure that targets the basivertebral nerve, which is located in the bones of the spine (vertebrae).
Q: How does Intracept help relieve chronic low back pain?
A: The pain-sensing basivertebral nerve is responsible for applying innervation to the bony end plates of the vertebral body. When the Intracept probe burns that nerve, it blocks the pain signals before they have a chance to branch to those end plates.
Q: Who would benefit from the Intracept Procedure?
A: Intracept is indicated for patients with chronic low back pain who don’t have a spinal instability or scoliosis, but they do have changes present on an MRI, called modic changes. These patients generally have experienced chronic low back pain for more than six months and have not responded to nonsurgical treatments. Intracept addresses modic changes that stem from degeneration rather than a tear or rupture. An MRI and physical examination will be performed to determine patients who qualify.
Q: What are the key benefits of the Intracept Procedure?
A: Intracept is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure, so the recovery period is rapid—often not more than a couple of days. It is implant-free and preserves the structure of the spine. There are no restrictions placed on patients afterward, and in many instances the pain relief is almost immediate.