Intradiscal Procedures

Biacuplasty for Low Back Pain

Low back and leg pain can have many causes, including the intervertebral disc. Current treatments for intradiscal pain in the lower back include physical therapy, epidural injections and fusion. The Helm Center for Pain Management offers Bbiacuplasty, a procedure which heats up the annulus of the disc. The heat destroys the pain fibers which grow in an injured disc and thereby relieves pain from the disc. Biacuplasty is performed by placing two probes in the disc through the lower back and sending a radiofrequency current between the two. In this way, the heat can be sent across the entire disc, regardless of how many tears there are in the disc. Thus, the problem of treating severely diseased discs is overcome.

Biacuplasty offer the major advantages of a short recovery time and of avoiding fusion. Surgical fusion of the low back is an uncertain procedure which can provide relief for some patients and ruin the lives of other patients. Biacuplasty avoids this risk.

After the procedure, you will wear a back brace while awake for 2-4 weeks after the procedure. You can return to sedentary work after two weeks. You will be given lower back exercises to do.

Complications are rare and usually self limited.

Many insurers have elected to not cover biacuplasty, despite evidence showing that it reduces lower back pain by 50% in about 50% of properly selected patients. Given that biacuplasty avoids the risk and expense of surgery, it is a useful and important tool in treating low back pain arising from the intervertebral discs. Prior to having a biacuplasty procedure, the presence of symptomatic disc disease needs to be proven by performing a discogram. We at the Helm Center for Pain Management perform the discogram and the biacuplasty at the same setting. Based upon your MRI findings, we will determine which discs are likely to be the source of your pain prior to the procedure. If the discography shows that these discs are the source of your low back and /or leg pain, then we will proceed with the biacuplasty.