Bipedicular Basi-Vertebral Nerve Ablation: A Case Report

*Corresponding author: Guy Buchanan* and Robert E. Wright


Intraosseous ablation of the basivertebral nerve (BVNA) is an emerging minimally invasive treatment to relieve chronic mechanical axial low back pain associated with Modic type 1 or type 2 vertebral end-plate changes. Randomized controlled trials demonstrate improvements in pain and function sustained for up to five-years.
A 40-year-old woman presented with an eight-year history of central low back with mechanical features. There was minimal response to active physical reconditioning techniques, breast reduction surgery and chronic opioid prescription. Imaging disclosed modic type 1 vertebral end-plate changes at the L5/S1 segment. Following a positive short-term response to bilateral L5/S1 facet joint injections, the L5/S1 facets were treated with radiofrequency ablation of the L4 medial branch and L5 dorsal ramus bilaterally but with minimal benefit. BVNA at L5 and S1 was provided using a bi-pedicular bipolar radiofrequency approach (description attached).
Six-week outcomes data disclosed decreased pain intensity from 8/10 to 3/10 and improved function with a decrease of 22 points on the oswestry disability index (ODI). Measures of depression, anxiety and stress, and quality of life improved significantly. Opioid usage decreased with a weaning plan. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings demonstrated new sclerosis with surrounding bone marrow oedema of the right and left sides of the L5 and S1 vertebral bodies consistent with the BVNA treatment.
This case reports technically successful BVNA using a bipedicular approach. The early result is consistent with the published literature using the uni-pedicular approach. Follow-up plans are in place. A case series will follow. In Brief A bi-pedicular bipolar radiofrequency technique for basivertebral nerve ablation to treat vertebrogenic chronic low back pain is described, including early clinical outcomes and MRI findings.
Bipedicular; Radiofrequency; Basivertebral nerve; Vertebrogenic; Modic end-plate changes.