Intracept services offered in Newburyport, Danvers and Gloucester, MA

The Intracept procedure is a proven durable treatment for chronic low back pain. The Intracept procedure targets the basivertebral nerve which transmits pain from degenerative vertebral body endplates.  The procedure is implant free and preserves future treatment options. The Intracept is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that is implant free.  Drs. Branton and Ho are highly trained pain experts in performing the Intracept procedure.  Call for your comprehensive pain management consultation to discuss if you are a candidate for the Intracept.

What is Vertebrogenic Back Pain and am I a candidate for the Intracept Procedure?

Chronic low back pain has many causes.  A previously unrecognized etiology of chronic low back pain is damaged lumbar vertebral endplates.  These degenerative endplates are now recognized as a significant cause of chronic axial low back pain.  The endplates are the interface between the vertebral body bone and the disc.   With lumbar disc degeneration (thinning of the discs), these bony endplates become damaged.  The damage may include fissuring of the endplate.  This allows the pro-inflammatory nucleus propulsus (gel like material inside a disc) to leak though the vertebral endplate. This leakage into the vertebral bones triggers inflammatory changes within the bone.  As with all inflammation, local nerves that carry pain signals become irritated and become more sensitive to painful stimulation.  In other words, they send their pain signal to more easily and frequently to the brain. The pain transmitting nerve within each vertebral body is called the basivertebral nerve.  This nerve carries pain signals back from the irritated, inflamed vertebral endplates to the central nervous system. Once processed by the brain, we become aware of the chronic low back pain. 

The Intracept procedures targets and kills the basivertebral nerve.  The Intracept procedure produces radiofrequency energy around the basivertebral nerve to destroy it.  Once the nerve is destroyed, it can no longer carry the pain signals.  As the basivertebral nerve never grows back, many patients will experience durable pain relief.  The published SMART trial demonstrated 5-yr durability of the Intracept procedure.[i] The visual analogue pain scale of the Intracept treated patients dropped from  6.74 to 2.35 and 1/3 of the Intracept treated patients were pain free five years after the pocedure.  The Intracept treated patient’s functionality also improved significantly as measured by the Oswestry Disability Index.


Do I qualify for the Intracept procedure?

You may qualify for the procedure if you have the following:

1) At least 6 months of axial low back pain which has not been responsive to conservative treatments such as physical therapy, activity modification, steroid injections and medications.

2) The Lumbar MRI must show degenerative vertebral body endplate changes.  These are known as Modic Type 1 or Modic Type 2 degenerative changes.

3) Symptoms consistent with vertebrogenic pain such as low back pain with sitting, bending, lifting, and physical activity. Simple tasks as loading and unloading the dishwasher or clothes dryer may be a sign of vertebrogenic pain.

Call us to schedule your comprehensive pain management evaluation.  With the Beverly Hospital's pain management center at the Lahey Outpatient Center in Danvers and at Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, MA and the Pain Management Centers of New England in Newburyport MA, we have the northshore pain and Merrimack Valley patients covered. 

To learn more about the Intracept click on the Link which will bring you to the Intracept website. 



[i]  Jeffrey Fischgrund et al.(2020) Long-term outcomes following intraosseous ablation of the basivertebral nerve for the treatment of chronic low back pain: 5-year treatment arm results from a prospective randomized double-blind sham-controlled multi-center study. European Spinal Journal. 29: 1925-1934  https//