Intracept Procedure

Pain Management Specialists -  - Board Certified Interventional Pain Management Physician

Pain Management Specialists

Board Certified Interventional Pain Management Physicians located in Rockville, MD & Frederick, MD

The Intracept Procedure (basivertebral nerve ablation) is a minimally invasive procedure that helps patients suffering from chronic low back pain. Stuart Hough, MD, and Ramani Peruvemba, MD, at Pain Management Specialists in Rockville and Frederick, Maryland, are fellowship-trained experts in the use of the Intracept Procedure. Call the office nearest you or book an appointment online to learn more about the Intracept Procedure.

What is the Intracept Procedure?

Basivertebral nerve ablation, or the Intracept Procedure, is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to interrupt nerves that carry pain signals from damaged discs in the lower back to your brain. It provides long-term pain relief for many patients suffering from chronic low back pain.

The basivertebral nerve (image from


The doctors at Pain Management Specialists are trained in the use of Intracept Procedure and among the first in Maryland to offer this groundbreaking innovation for low back pain.

Am I a candidate for the Intracept Procedure?

Your board-certified pain management physician at Pain Management Specialists determines if you’re a candidate for the Intracept Procedure after an evaluation.

People who are likely to respond well to the Intracept Procedure have low back pain that is worse when sitting, lifting and bending forward at the waist. They also have damaged discs in the lumbar spine, between L3 and S1, and what are described as endplate, or Modic changes. These abnormalities have a characteristic appearance on MRI or SPECT CT.

An MRI showing Modic endplate changes surrounding all three lower lumbar discs:



What happens during the Intracept Procedure?

Your Pain Management Specialists doctor performs the Intracept Procedure in an outpatient surgery center or hospital operating room under general anesthesia or with deep sedation.The procedure typically takes 40 to 80 minutes, depending on how many vertebrae are being treated.

During your Intracept Procedure, you are given anesthesia, then positioned on your stomach. The skin is cleaned and an intravenous antibiotic is administered to prevent infection.

Next, your doctor makes a small (roughly 1 centimeter) incision in your back and inserts a probe into the affected vertebral body (bone) using X-ray guidance. After precisely positioning the probe next to the basivertebral nerve, which is deep within the vertebral body, radiofrequency energy is passed through the probe to heat the area and kill the nerve. This prevents the nerve from carrying pain signals from the damaged discs/endplates to your brain. Each ablation takes from 7 to 15 minutes, and up to four nerves may be treated at one time. After your Intracept procedure, you will need to spend a short time in the recovery room before going home. You must arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure.

Intracept Procedure on the L5 vertebral body (image from


When will I feel pain relief after the Intracept Procedure?

Pain after the Intracept procedure is usually mild and temporary. Many patients start to experience relief of their usual low back pain between two and six weeks after the procedure. Studies have shown that the relief lasts at least 5 years and the Intracept Procedure should not have to be repeated.

The Pain Management Specialists team has witnessed remarkable advances in the treatment of lower back pain in the last few years and has been on the forefront of offering the latest proven treatments to patients. They are among very few interventional pain management practices in the area trained to evaluate and treat patients with the Intracept Procedure. To learn more about the Intracept Procedure and how it may alleviate your chronic low back pain, call Pain Management Specialists or book an appointment online today.