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UOI’s Dr. Tian First in Rhode Island Offering Proven Treatment for Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain 

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. – University Orthopedics recently announced Dr. S. Chris Tian, an expert in interventional pain management, recently became the first in Rhode Island to offer an innovative treatment for patients seeking relief from a distinct type of chronic low back pain (CLBP) known as vertebrogenic pain.

Dr. Tian successfully performed two Intracept® Procedures at University Orthopedics’ East Bay Surgery Center in East Providence. The minimally invasive, outpatient procedure takes about an hour and is implant-free, so it preserves the overall structure of the spine. It works by targeting the basivertebral nerve (BVN) in the spine with radiofrequency energy. During the procedure, Dr. Tian used a probe to heat the BVN, rendering it unable to transmit pain signals to the brain.

The Intracept Procedure is supported by multiple clinical studies, including two Level I randomized controlled trials and five-year data on patient outcomes. Key findings include:

  • Long-term improvements in pain and function, sustained more than 5 years[1]
  • Sustained decrease in patients using opioids and injections long-term1
  • Nearly 80% of patients indicated they would have the procedure again for the same condition1
  • Less than 0.3% rate of serious Intracept Procedure-related complications reported.[2]

“With the Intracept Procedure, we are embarking on a paradigm shift in the treatment and diagnosis of vertebrogenic pain,” Dr. Tian said. “Not only is the procedure proven to be safe and durable but it also provides patients with the opportunity to get back to living without the burden of chronic low back pain.”

Of the 30 million people in the U.S. with chronic low back pain, 1 in 6 are likely to have vertebrogenic pain, a distinct type of CLBP caused by damage to vertebral endplates, the interface between the disc and the vertebral body. Disc degeneration – and the wear and tear that occurs with everyday living – produces stresses on the endplates that damage them, leading to inflammation and vertebrogenic pain.

The indicated patient for the Intracept Procedure has chronic low back pain of at least six months duration, has not responded to at least six months of conservative care, and presents with degenerative vertebral endplate changes consistent with Type 1 or Type 2 Modic changes at L3 through S1 on an MRI.

Rhode Island- and Southeastern Massachusetts residents interested in learning more about the Intracept Procedure can visit universityorthopedics.com or call 401-457-1500 for more information.

[1] Fischgrund J, Rhyne A, Macadaeg K, et al. Long-term outcomes following intraosseous basivertebral nerve ablation for the treatment of chronic low back pain: 5-year treatment arm results from a prospective randomized double-blind sham-controlled multi-center study. Eur Spine J. 2020;29(8):1925-34. doi.org/10.1007/s00586-020-06448-x 

[2] Relievant data on file as of January 2023. 

About Dr. Tian

Dr. Shiqiang “Chris” Tian is a University Orthopedics physician specialized in treating headache, spinal, musculoskeletal, post-surgical, neuropathic, cancer, and visceral pain.

An experienced physician with in-depth knowledge of pain management approaches, Dr. Tian helps patients return to their everyday tasks by performing innovative procedures. Through his rigorous training, Dr. Tian is able to perform advanced pain management solutions such as epidural steroid injection, radiofrequency nerve ablation, spinal cord stimulation, intra-thecal drug delivery system, and vertebral augmentation.