Chronic lower back discomfort is a major issue for millions across the globe It’s not something that’s easily fixed. A breakthrough technology called Intracept is creating waves in the field and carefully delivers the affected vertebra with heat to block nerve signals and help to reduce pain.

Intracept was invented by the medical company Relievant Medsystems and is based on a minimally invasive treatment that addresses a typical cause for lower back pain that originates through the vertebra. The type of pain is transmitted via the basivertebral nerve which runs through vertebrae, which includes vertebral endsplates, as well as the fragments of cartilage and bone between disks.

Under anesthesia it is possible to insert tiny probes into the vertebra that is affected and then using radio-frequency ablation to increase the temperature of the basivertebral nerve. This stops it from transmitting signalling for pain back to spinal cord and eventually to the brain. the entire procedure taking approximately an hour.

The Intracept technology was approved for FDA approval back in the year 2016 and has continued to prove its worth through a series of clinical studies. One trial involving 140 patients revealed 31% were completely pain-free after 24 months of treatment. Another study involving 48 patients found the majority of patients experience 50 percent less pain. In addition, 38% reported having no pain at all within 12 months.

Another study showed 34% of patients remain pain-free for five years following the treatment. Relievant Medsystems states that the lasting relief provided by Intracept is due to its unique characteristics of the basivertebral nerve that differs from other nerves because it has not shown any ability to restore its ability to transmit pain.

Intracept’s potential to relieve pain has seen doctors adopt the technology in various medical centers across the US as well as more recently spine specialists from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center that started treating patients using the device earlier in the year.

“Before the treatment became available it was difficult to offer a viable treatment option for my patients that had chronic back pain caused by endplates that were degenerative,” Ankit Patel Assistant Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.. “Basivertebral nerve ablation is an innovative and exciting treatment that I am ecstatic to provide to my patients. Intracept will help my patients attain greater level of living, decrease the usage of pain medication, and prevent surgical correction for spine surgeries.”

Patel and his coworkers intend to continue their studies on the technique once they apply it to increase its capability to ease back pain for chronically ill patients.

Source: UT Southwestern