Basivertebral Nerve Ablation

Intracept, also known as basivertebral nerve ablation, is a procedure for patients with chronic low back pain who have not responded to conservative treatments or who have not had long lasting results. This procedure is specifically for patients with vertebrogenic low back pain which is diagnosed by a physician with clinical history, exam, and MRI. 

Intravertebral disc degeneration may occur in one’s life resulting in vertebral body endplate changes and degeneration (upper and low portion of the bones that make up the spine). These changes are specific and can be seen on MRI as “Type 1 or Type 2 Modic changes”.  The degenerated vertebral body endplates are innervated by the basivertebral nerve, which sends pain signals to the brain.

The basivertebral nerve ablation, or Intracept procedure, is an outpatient, minimally invasive procedure in which the vertebral body is accessed utilizing fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance through a small skin incision.  A curved cannula is introduced through the vertebral body near the trunk of the basivertebral nerve. Then, a radiofrequency probe is introduced through the cannula which is used to “heat up” or “ablate” with a radiofrequency generator resulting in cessation of pain signal transmission.

Historically, this has been a very difficult type of chronic back pain to treat.  Now with advancements in medicine there are more treatment options. 

For brief educational videos, click the links below:

The links to these videos are for educational purposes only. See disclaimer.

Intracept patient website:

Video disclaimer

The links to the videos on this page are for informational purposes only. The video content is not intended to be professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The links will take you to Veritas Health content. Veritas Health publishes educational health information to help patients better understand symptoms, conditions, and a variety of treatment options. Their content is authored by expert health professionals but does not reflect the opinions of UK HealthCare or our providers. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health. Reliance on the content is solely at your own risk.