Recently, basivertebral nerve (BVN) radiofrequency ablation has been developed for the treatment of chronic low back pain (CLBP) thought to arise from the vertebral body endplates (VEPs). This review describes the relevant neuroanatomy and pathobiology of VEP degeneration and injury, imaging correlates of presumed VEP pain, randomized controlled trials performed, appropriate patient selection, and safety. Anatomic, histological, and clinical evidence supports the concept of the VEP as a source of CLBP and the nociceptive role of the BVN. BVN radiofrequency ablation appears to be an effective treatment for a subset of patients with CLBP and evidence of Modic change types 1 and 2 in the L3 to S1 VEPs who have failed to respond to conservative treatment. However, all studies performed to date have been industry sponsored, and future non-industry-funded trials will be needed to confirm these results.
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