Intracept is a minimally-invasive outpatient procedure that utilizes radiofrequency ablation to pinpoint and eliminate the nerves that are responsible for vertebrogenic lower back pain. (Relievant Medsystems)

DALLAS, Sept. 30 2022 – Doctors of the UT Southwestern Spine Center are offering a minimally-invasive ablation procedure that can provide relief for lower back pain that is caused due to injury or degeneration of spine vertebral endsplates.

G. Sunny Sharma, M.D.

Intracept, which is a radiofrequency nerve ablation procedure, is the only FDA-approved treatment for treating vertebrogenic lower back pain. G. Sunny Sharma, M.D., Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Ankit Patel, M.D., Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, who are specialists in the interventional spine and musculoskeletal therapy started using the procedure earlier in the year.

“It is an honor our team is able to provide this minimally-invasive outpatient procedure which can offer lasting relief from chronic low back discomfort without lengthy recovery time or spinal equipment,” said Dr. Sharma.

Research has proven the pain relief can begin within weeks and lasts for a long time. In the course of a 12-month study in which 64 percent of patients treated with Intracept experienced more than 50 percent reduction in pain and 30% of them said that their pain was completely gone. Nearly no injections of steroid were needed in the 12 months after the ablation.

Ankit Patel, M.D.

Ankit Patel, M.D.

Intracept, a product developed through Relievant Medsystems Inc., is a treatment for the basivertebral nerve (BVN) which traverses the vertebrae. It is comprised of vertebral endsplates, bilayers made comprised of cartilage as well as bone that divide discs between the intervertebral and adjacent vertebrae. The procedure involves ablation of the BVN to stop Afferent signals coming from the affected area back towards the brain, while the main spinal cord which is from which the other nerves originate remains unaffected.

The Dr. Sharma said chronic low back pain is among the most common reasons for disability. In the meantime, the Intracept procedure targets pain that is coming at the endplate Dr. Sharma warned that many patients suffer from multiple causes of back pain, which includes disc pain and joint pain, which would require different treatments.

Both interventionists are enthused by the early feedback received from patients.

“Before this treatment became accessible it was difficult to find a reliable treatment option for my patients that had chronic back pain due to degenerative endsplates,” said Dr. Patel. “Basivertebral nerve ablation is a innovative and exciting procedure that I am ecstatic to provide to my patients in a variety of ways. Intracept is a great option for my patients attain an improved living quality, lessen the usage of pain medication, and also avoid the need for corrective spine surgical procedures.”

They both look forward to tracking the outcomes and conducting research on the treatment to aid in the development of its role as part of the spine practice.

about UT Southwestern Medical Center

UT Southwestern, one of the top research centers for academic medicine, combines cutting-edge biomedical research and exceptional medical care and educational. The faculty at the university has been awarded six Nobel Prizes. It also is comprised of 26 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine, and 14 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigators. The faculty that is full-time and totals over 2,900 is responsible for cutting-edge medical breakthroughs and is dedicated to rapidly translating research-based research into innovative clinical treatments. UT Southwestern physicians provide care in more than 80 specialties for greater than 100,000 people who are hospitalized. They also handle more than 360,000 patients in emergency rooms and supervise nearly 4 million visits to outpatients each year.