Objective: To determine sacroiliac joint compliance characteristics and pelvic floor movements in older women relative to gynecological surgery history and back pain complaints. Design: Single-visit laboratory measurement. Setting: University clinical research center. Participants: Twenty-five women aged 65 years or older. Outcome Measures: Sacroiliac joint compliance measured by Doppler imaging of vibrations and ultrasound measures of pelvic floor motion during the active straight leg raise test. Results: Doppler imaging of vibrations demonstrated test reliability ranging from 0.701 to 0.898 for detecting vibration on the ilium and sacrum sides of the sacroiliac joint. The presence of low-back pain or prior gynecological surgery was not significantly associated with a difference in the compliance or laxity symmetry of the sacroiliac joints. No significant difference in pelvic floor movement was found during the active straight leg raise test between subject groups. All P values were ≥.4159. Conclusions: Prior gynecological surgery and low-back pain were not significantly associated with side-to-side differences in the compliance of the sacroiliac joints or in significant changes in pelvic floor movement during a loading maneuver in a group of older women.
aging; back pain; gynecologic surgery; sacroiliac joint; pelvic floor; Doppler imaging of vibrations
To determine which physical examination tests have the highest sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values for determining the presence of sacroiliac joint injuries and/or dysfunction when compared with the gold standard of a sacroiliac joint block.
A systematic search of the literature was conducted for articles that evaluated clinical sacroiliac joint tests for sensitivity, specificity, and predictive value when compared to sacroiliac joint block. The search was conducted using several online databases: Medline, Embase, Cinahl, AMED, and the Index to Chiropractic Literature. Reference and journal searching and contact with several experts in the area was also employed.
Studies selected for inclusion were evaluated with a data extraction sheet and assessed for methodological quality using an assessment tool based on accepted principles of evaluation.
Article results were compared, no attempt to formally combine the results into a meta-analysis was made.
Seven papers were identified for inclusion in the review, two of which dealt with the same study, thus six studies were to be assessed although one paper could not be obtained. The most recently published article had the highest methodological quality. Study designs rarely incorporated randomized, placebo controlled, double blinded study designs or confirmatory sacroiliac joint blocks. There was considerable inconsistency between studies in design and outcome measurement, making comparison difficult. Five tests were found to have sensitivity and specificity over 60% each in at least one study with at least moderately high methodological quality. Using several tests and requiring a minimum number to be positive yielded adequate sensitivity and specificity for identifying sacroiliac joint injury when compared with sacroiliac joint block.
Practitioners may consider using the distraction test, compression test, thigh thrust/posterior shear, sacral thrust, and resisted hip abduction as these were the only tests to have specificity and sensitivity greater than 60% in at least one study. Further research using improved methodology is required to determine the optimal tests and combinations of tests to identify sacroiliac joint injuries.
sacroiliac; joint; examination; sacro-iliaque; articulation; examen
This study aimed to evaluate the validity of the sacral base pressure test in diagnosing sacroiliac joint dysfunction. It also determined the predictive powers of the test in determining which type of sacroiliac joint dysfunction was present.
This was a double-blind experimental study with 62 participants. The results from the sacral base pressure test were compared against a cluster of previously validated tests of sacroiliac joint dysfunction to determine its validity and predictive powers. The external rotation of the feet, occurring during the sacral base pressure test, was measured using a digital inclinometer.
There was no statistically significant difference in the results of the sacral base pressure test between the types of sacroiliac joint dysfunction. In terms of the results of validity, the sacral base pressure test was useful in identifying positive values of sacroiliac joint dysfunction. It was fairly helpful in correctly diagnosing patients with negative test results; however, it had only a “slight” agreement with the diagnosis for κ interpretation.
In this study, the sacral base pressure test was not a valid test for determining the presence of sacroiliac joint dysfunction or the type of dysfunction present. Further research comparing the agreement of the sacral base pressure test or other sacroiliac joint dysfunction tests with a criterion standard of diagnosis is necessary.
The tissue origin of low back pain (LBP) or referred lower extremity symptoms (LES) may be identified in about 70% of cases using advanced imaging, discography and facet or sacroiliac joint blocks. These techniques are invasive and availability varies. A clinical examination is non-invasive and widely available but its validity is questioned. Diagnostic studies usually examine single tests in relation to single reference standards, yet in clinical practice, clinicians use multiple tests and select from a range of possible diagnoses. There is a need for studies that evaluate the diagnostic performance of clinical diagnoses against available reference standards.
We compared blinded clinical diagnoses with diagnoses based on available reference standards for known causes of LBP or LES such as discography, facet, sacroiliac or hip joint blocks, epidurals injections, advanced imaging studies or any combination of these tests. A prospective, blinded validity design was employed. Physiotherapists examined consecutive patients with chronic lumbopelvic pain and/or referred LES scheduled to receive the reference standard examinations. When diagnoses were in complete agreement regardless of complexity, "exact" agreement was recorded. When the clinical diagnosis was included within the reference standard diagnoses, "clinical agreement" was recorded. The proportional chance criterion (PCC) statistic was used to estimate agreement on multiple diagnostic possibilities because it accounts for the prevalence of individual categories in the sample. The kappa statistic was used to estimate agreement on six pathoanatomic diagnoses.
In a sample of chronic LBP patients (n = 216) with high levels of disability and distress, 67% received a patho-anatomic diagnosis based on available reference standards, and 10% had more than one tissue origin of pain identified. For 27 diagnostic categories and combinations, chance clinical agreement (PCC) was estimated at 13%. "Exact" agreement between clinical and reference standard diagnoses was 32% and "clinical agreement" 51%. For six pathoanatomic categories (disc, facet joint, sacroiliac joint, hip joint, nerve root and spinal stenosis), PCC was 33% with actual agreement 56%. There was no overlap of 95% confidence intervals on any comparison. Diagnostic agreement on the six most common patho-anatomic categories produced a kappa of 0.31.
Clinical diagnoses agree with reference standards diagnoses more often than chance. Using available reference standards, most patients can have a tissue source of pain identified.
The mainstay of sacroiliac joint disruption/degenerative sacroiliitis therapy has been nonoperative management. This nonoperative management often includes a regimen of physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, therapeutic injections, and possibly radiofrequency ablation at the discretion of the treating physician. When these clinical treatments fail, sacroiliac joint fusion has been recommended as the standard treatment. Open and minimally invasive (MIS) surgical techniques are typical procedures. This study aims to compare the perioperative measures and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) outcomes associated with each of these techniques.
A comparative retrospective chart review of patients with sacroiliac joint fusion and a minimum of 1 year of follow-up was performed. Perioperative measures and ODI scores were compared using the Fisher’s exact test and two nonparametric tests, ie, the Mann–Whitney U test and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. The results are presented as percent or median with range, as appropriate.
Forty-nine patients from two institutions underwent sacroiliac joint fusion between 2006 and 2012. Ten patients were excluded because of incomplete data, leaving 39 evaluable patients, of whom 22 underwent open and 17 underwent MIS sacroiliac joint fusion. The MIS group was significantly older (median age 66 [39–82] years) than the open group (median age 51 [34–74] years). Surgical time and hospital stay were significantly shorter in the MIS group than in the open group. Preoperative ODI was significantly greater in the open group (median 64 [44–78]) than in the MIS group (median 53 [14–84]). Postoperative improvement in ODI was statistically significant within and between groups, with MIS resulting in greater improvement.
The open and MIS sacroiliac joint fusion techniques resulted in statistically and clinically significant improvement for patients with degenerative sacroiliitis refractory to nonoperative management. However, the number of patients reaching the minimal clinically important difference and those showing overall improvement were greater in the MIS group.
sacroiliac joint; arthrodesis; sacroiliac joint disruption; degenerative sacroiliitis
To investigate common non-traumatic musculoskeletal complaints of the low back in elite inline-speedskaters of the German national team.
Summary of background data
Traumatic injuries associated with falls or collisions are well documented in speedskaters but so far no studies have investigated non-traumatic low back pain. Previously, the sacroiliac joint was suspected as a frequent origin of complaint, we aimed to investigate this assumption.
Two chiropractors examined elite inline-speedskaters of the German national team during three sports events between summer 2010 and 2011. A test cluster of five provocative tests for the sacroiliac joint was selected based on reliability and validity.
A total of 37 examinations were conducted on 34 athletes with low back pain during the three sport events. The reported pain intensities ranged from mild to moderate pain (VAS 23.4 ± 13.4 to 35.1 ± 19.2). About 90% of cases showed involvement of the SI joint of which again 90% presented with left sided symptoms.
Non-traumatic complaints of the low back originating from the left sacroiliac joint frequently occur in competitive inline speedskaters.
Speedskating; Non-traumatic; Sacro-iliac joint; Sport-specific; Pain
Background and Aims: Sacroiliac joint pain not associated with a major etiological factor is a common problem seen in the orthopedic clinical setting, but diagnosis is difficult because of the anatomical area and thus it is sometimes difficult to effect a complete cure. Low level laser therapy (LLLT) has been well-reported as having efficacy in difficult pain types, so the following preliminary study was designed to assess the efficacy of LLLT for sacroiliac pain.
Materials and Methods: Nine patients participated, 4 males and 5 females, average age of 50.4 yrs, who attended the outpatient department with sacroiliac pain. The usual major disorders were ruled out. Pain was assessed subjectively pre-and post-LLLT on a visual analog scale, and trunk range of motion was examined with the flexion test to obtain the pre- and post-treatment finger to floor distance (FFD). The LLLT system used was an 830 nm CW diode laser, 1000 mW, 30 sec/point (20 J/cm2) applied on the bilateral tender points twice/week for 5 weeks. Baseline and final assessment values (after the final treatment session) were compared with the Wilcoxon signed rank test (nonparametric score).
Results: All patients completed the study. Eight of the 9 patients showed significant pain improvement and 6 demonstrated significantly increased trunk mobility (P <0.05 for both).
Conclusions: LLLT was effective for sacroiliac pain, and this may be due to improvement of the blood circulation of the strong ligaments which support the sacroiliac joint, activation of the descending inhibitory pathway, and the additional removal of irregularities of the sacroiliac joint articular surfaces. Further larger-scale studies are warranted.
Sacroiliac joint; Low Level Laser Therapy; Sacroiliac joint pain
Sacroiliac fixation using iliac screws for highly unstable lumbar spine has been reported with an improved fusion rate and clinical results. On the other hand, there is a potential for clinical problems related to iliac fixation, including late sacroiliac joint arthritis and pain.
Materials and Methods
Twenty patients were evaluated. Degenerative scoliosis was diagnosed in 7 patients, failed back syndrome in 6 patients, destructive spondyloarthropathy in 4 patients, and Charcot spine in 3 patients. All patients underwent posterolateral fusion surgery incorporating lumbar, S1 and iliac screws. We evaluated the pain scores, bone union, and degeneration of sacroiliac joints by X-ray imaging and computed tomography before and 3 years after surgery. For evaluation of low back and buttock pain from sacroiliac joints 3 years after surgery, lidocaine was administered in order to examine pain relief thereafter.
Pain scores significantly improved after surgery. All patients showed bone union at final follow-up. Degeneration of sacroiliac joints was not seen in the 20 patients 3 years after surgery. Patients showed slight low back and buttock pain 3 years after surgery. However, not all patients showed relief of the low back and buttock pain after injection of lidocaine into the sacroiliac joint, indicating that their pain did not originate from sacroiliac joints.
The fusion rate and clinical results were excellent. Also, degeneration and pain from sacroiliac joints were not seen within 3 years after surgery. We recommend sacroiliac fixation using iliac screws for highly unstable lumbar spine.
Sacroiliac; fixation; iliac screws; degeneration; pain
Sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain refers to the pain arising from the SIJ joint structures. SIJ dysfunction generally refers to aberrant position or movement of SIJ structures that may or may not result in pain. This paper aims to clarify the difference between these clinical concepts and present current available evidence regarding diagnosis and treatment of SIJ disorders. Tests for SIJ dysfunction generally have poor inter-examiner reliability. A reference standard for SIJ dysfunction is not readily available, so validity of the tests for this disorder is unknown. Tests that stress the SIJ in order to provoke familiar pain have acceptable inter-examiner reliability and have clinically useful validity against an acceptable reference standard. It is unknown if provocation tests can reliably identify extra-articular SIJ sources of pain. Three or more positive pain provocation SIJ tests have sensitivity and specificity of 91% and 78%, respectively. Specificity of three or more positive tests increases to 87% in patients whose symptoms cannot be made to move towards the spinal midline, i.e., centralize. In chronic back pain populations, patients who have three or more positive provocation SIJ tests and whose symptoms cannot be made to centralize have a probability of having SIJ pain of 77%, and in pregnant populations with back pain, a probability of 89%. This combination of test findings could be used in research to evaluate the efficacy of specific treatments for SIJ pain. Treatments most likely to be effective are specific lumbopelvic stabilization training and injections of corticosteroid into the intra-articular space.
Corticosteroid Injection; Diagnostic Accuracy; Intra-Articular Injection; Lumbopelvic Stabilization Training; Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain; Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction; Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Background: The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) can be a source of low back pain. The complexity of the system involving the SIJ and the varied SIJ pain referral pattern makes it difficult to clinically assess SIJ dysfunction. Despite the emergence of detail of the SIJ complex, the basis of the clinical tests has not been thoroughly investigated.
Objective: To review the literature from the last decade dealing with the validity and reliability of clinical tests for SIJ dysfunction in order to determine which tests are reliable and valid.
Discussion: For clinical tests with multiple studies, there was agreement on reliability for Gaenslens, Thigh Thrust test, Finger Point test and SIJ Pain Mapping and agreement on validity for Thigh Thrust test. However, Gillets Test, Patrick’s FABER and Sacral Thrust/Compression were considered invalid and unreliable, although these results may have been influenced by methodological shortcomings. Examination of the entire SIJ complex may mean that a series of tests are required.
Sacroiliac joint; reliability; validity; clinical tests
The most utilized soccer kicking method is the instep kicking technique. Decreased motion in spinal joint segments results in adverse biomechanical changes within in the kinematic chain. These changes may be linked to a negative impact on soccer performance. This study tested the immediate effect of lumbar spine and sacroiliac manipulation alone and in combination on the kicking speed of uninjured soccer players.
This 2010 prospective, pre-post experimental, single-blinded (subject) required forty asymptomatic soccer players, from regional premier league teams, who were purposively allocated to one of four groups (based on the evaluation of the players by two blinded motion palpators). Segment dysfunction was either localized to the lumbar spine (Group 1), sacroiliac joint (Group 2), the lumbar spine and sacroiliac joint (Group 3) or not present in the sham laser group (Group 4). All players underwent a standardized warm-up before the pre-measurements. Manipulative intervention followed after which post-measurements were completed. Measurement outcomes included range of motion changes (digital inclinometer); kicking speed (Speed Trac™ Speed Sport Radar) and the subjects’ perception of a change in kicking speed. SPSS version 15.0 was used to analyse the data, with repeated measures ANOVA and a p-value <0.05 (CI 95%).
Lumbar spine manipulation resulted in significant range of motion increases in left and right rotation. Sacroiliac manipulation resulted in no significant changes in the lumbar range of motion. Combination manipulative interventions resulted in significant range of motion increases in lumbar extension, right rotation and right SI joint flexion. There was a significant increase in kicking speed post intervention for all three manipulative intervention groups (when compared to sham). A significant correlation was seen between Likert based-scale subjects’ perception of change in kicking speed post intervention and the objective results obtained.
This pilot study showed that lumbar spine manipulation combined with SI joint manipulation, resulted in an effective intervention for short-term increases in kicking speed/performance. However, the lack of an a priori analysis, a larger sample size and an unblinded outcome measures assessor requires that this study be repeated, addressing these concerns and for these outcomes to be validated.
Chiropractic; Manipulation; Athletic performance; Soccer
Sacroiliac joint block can be performed for the diagnosis and treatment of sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Although sacroiliac joint block is a common procedure, complications have not been reported in detail. We report a case of iliacus pyomyositis and sacroiliac joint infection following a sacroiliac joint block. A 70-year-old female patient received sacroiliac joint blocks to relieve pelvic pain. The patient was admitted to the emergency room two days after the final sacroiliac joint block (SIJB) with the chief complaints of left pelvic pain corresponding to a visual analogue scale (VAS) score of 9 and fever. A pelvic MRI indicated a diagnosis of myositis. After 1 month of continuous antibiotic therapy, the patient's erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) level remained elevated. A 67Ga SPECT/CT was done. Abnormal uptake was seen at the left sacroiliac joint (SIJ), and septic sacroiliitis was suspected. The CRP normalized to 0.29 mg/dl and the ESR decreased to 60 mm/hr, and the patient had no fever after 57 days of antibiotic therapy. She was directed for follow up at an outpatient clinic.
Iliacus; Infection; Pyomyositis; Sacroiliac
The sacroiliac joint is a common but under-recognized source of low back and gluteal pain. Patients with degenerative sacroiliitis or sacroiliac joint disruption resistant to nonsurgical treatments may undergo open surgery with sacroiliac joint arthrodesis, although outcomes are mixed and risks are significant. Minimally invasive sacroiliac joint arthrodesis was developed to minimize the risk of iatrogenic injury and to improve patient outcomes compared with open surgery.
Between April 2009 and January 2013, 5319 patients were treated with the iFuse SI Joint Fusion System® for conditions including sacroiliac joint disruption and degenerative sacroiliitis. A database was prospectively developed to record all complaints reported to the manufacturer in patients treated with the iFuse device. Complaints were collected through spontaneous reporting mechanisms in support of ongoing mandatory postmarket surveillance efforts.
Complaints were reported in 204 (3.8%) patients treated with the iFuse system. Pain was the most commonly reported clinical complaint (n = 119, 2.2%), with nerve impingement (n = 48, 0.9%) and recurrent sacroiliac joint pain (n = 43, 0.8%) most frequently cited. All other clinical complaints were rare (≤0.2%). Ninety-six revision surgeries were performed in 94 (1.8%) patients at a median follow-up of four (range 0–30) months. Revisions were typically performed in the early postoperative period for treatment of a symptomatic malpositioned implant (n = 46, 0.9%) or to correct an improperly sized implant in an asymptomatic patient (n = 10, 0.2%). Revisions in the late postoperative period were performed to treat symptom recurrence (n = 34, 0.6%) or for continued pain of undetermined etiology (n = 6, 0.1%).
Analysis of a postmarket product complaints database demonstrates an overall low risk of complaints with the iFuse SI Joint Fusion System in patients with degenerative sacroiliitis or sacroiliac joint disruption.
arthrodesis; iFuse; lumbar; minimally invasive; sacroiliac
[Purpose] We investigated the effects of individual strengthening exercises for the
stabilization muscles on the nutation torque of the sacroiliac joint in a sedentary worker
with nonspecific sacroiliac joint pain. [Subject] A 36-year-old female complained of pain
in the sacroiliac joints. [Methods] The subject performed individual strengthening
exercises for the stabilization muscles for nutation torque of the sacroiliac joint for 3
weeks. Pain-provocation tests and visual analog scale (VAS) scores were evaluated before
and after the exercises. [Results] After performing the individual strengthening exercises
for the erector spinae, rectus abdominis, and biceps femoris muscles for 3 weeks, the
subject displayed no pain in the pain provocation tests, and the VAS score was 2/10.
[Conclusion] The individual strengthening exercises for the stabilization muscles of the
sacroiliac joint performed in the present study appear to be effective for sedentary
workers with sacroiliac joint pain.
Nutation torque; Pain provocation tests; Sacroiliac joint stabilization
Infections of the sacroiliac joint are uncommon and the diagnosis is usually delayed. In a retrospective study, 17 patients who had been treated for tuberculosis sacroiliitis between 1994 and 2004 were reviewed. Two patients were excluded due to a short follow-up (less than 2 years). Low back pain and difficulty in walking were the most common presenting features. Two patients presented with a buttock abscess and spondylitis of the lumbar spine was noted in two patients. The Gaenslen’s and FABER (flexion, abduction and external rotation) tests were positive in all patients. Radiological changes included loss of cortical margins with erosion of the joints. An open biopsy and curettage was performed in all patients; histology revealed chronic infection and acid-fast bacilli were isolated in nine patients. Antituberculous (TB) medication was administered for 18 months and the follow-up ranged from 3 to 10 years (mean: 5 years). The sacroiliac joint fused spontaneously within 2 years. Although all patients had mild discomfort in the lower back following treatment they had no difficulty in walking. Sacroiliac joint infection must be included in the differential diagnosis of lower back pain and meticulous history and clinical evaluation of the joint are essential.
Objective: The diagnosis of active inflammation in ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is crucial for treatment to delay possible persistent deformities. There are no specific laboratory tests and imaging methods to clarify the active disease. We evaluated the value of Tc-99m human immunoglobulin (HIG) scintigraphy in detection of active inflammation.
Material and Methods: Twenty-nine patients were included. Tc-99m methylenediphosphonate bone (MDP) and HIG scintigraphies were performed within 2-5 day intervals. Two control groups were constituted both for MDP and HIG scintigraphies. Active inflammation was determined clinically and by serologic tests. Both scintigraphies were evaluated visually. Sacroiliac joint index values (SII) were calculated.
Results: Active inflammation was considered in five (sacroiliitis in 2, sacroiliitis-spinal inflammation in 1, achilles tendinitis in 1, arthritis of coxafemoral joints in 1) patients. HIG scintigraphy demonstrated active disease in all 3 patients with active sacroiliitis. But, it was negative in the rest. The other 2 active cases were HIG negative. Right and left SII obtained from HIG scintigraphy was higher (p<0.05) in clinically active patients than inactive patients. There was not any significant difference between patients with inactive sacroiliitis and normal controls. Right and left SII obtained from bone scintigraphy was higher (p<0.05) in patient group than in control group.
Conclusion: Clinically inactive AS patients, behave no differently than normal controls with quantitative sacroiliac joint evaluation on HIG scintigraphy. HIG scintigraphy may be valuable for evaluation of sacroiliac joints in patients with uncResults:ertain laboratory and clinical findings.
Conflict of interest:None declared.
Tc-99m-HIG; ankylosing spondylitis; inflammation
Study Design. Retrospective case series. Objective. To document the clinical utility of intraoperative neuromonitoring during minimally invasive surgical sacroiliac joint fusion for patients diagnosed with sacroiliac joint dysfunction (as a direct result of sacroiliac joint disruptions or degenerative sacroiliitis) and determine stimulated electromyography thresholds reflective of favorable implant position. Summary of Background Data. Intraoperative neuromonitoring is a well-accepted adjunct to minimally invasive pedicle screw placement. The utility of intraoperative neuromonitoring during minimally invasive surgical sacroiliac joint fusion using a series of triangular, titanium porous plasma coated implants has not been evaluated. Methods. A medical chart review of consecutive patients treated with minimally invasive surgical sacroiliac joint fusion was undertaken at a single center. Baseline patient demographics and medical history, intraoperative electromyography thresholds, and perioperative adverse events were collected after obtaining IRB approval. Results. 111 implants were placed in 37 patients. Sensitivity of EMG was 80% and specificity was 97%. Intraoperative neuromonitoring potentially avoided neurologic sequelae as a result of improper positioning in 7% of implants. Conclusions. The results of this study suggest that intraoperative neuromonitoring may be a useful adjunct to minimally invasive surgical sacroiliac joint fusion in avoiding nerve injury during implant placement.
Purpose of review
To summarize recent advances in the classification of preradiographic axial spondyloarthritis (SpA).
Inflammation in the sacroiliac joints precedes radiographic damage that is necessary to establish a diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Preradiographic axial SpA refers to patients with SpA who exhibit signs and symptoms of axial involvement, but lack criteria for AS. Patients with axial SpA can have remarkably similar clinical features and disease activity as those with early AS. MRI is a sensitive method for detecting sacroiliac joint inflammation, which is useful in predicting the development of AS. Whole-body MRI has emerged as a means to visualize additional areas of involvement. However, it may be less sensitive than conventional MRI, and thus its added value will need to be further assessed. The incorporation of MRI evaluation of the sacroiliac joints and HLA-B27 testing into criteria for identifying individuals with preradiographic axial disease has led to the development of criteria for classifying axial SpA.
The development of classification criteria for axial SpA will aid in the identification of patients suitable for clinical trials testing whether early intervention will slow the development and/or progression of structural changes in that lead to AS.
Positron Emission Tomography - Computer Tomography (PET-CT) is an interesting imaging technique to visualize Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) activity using specific PET tracers. Previous studies have shown that the PET tracers [18F]FDG and [11C](R)PK11195 can target inflammation (synovitis) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and may therefore be useful in AS. Another interesting tracer for AS is [18F]Fluoride, which targets bone formation. In a pilot setting, the potential of PET-CT in imaging AS activity was tested using different tracers, with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and conventional radiographs as reference.
In a stepwise approach different PET tracers were investigated. First, whole body [18F]FDG and [11C](R)PK11195 PET-CT scans were obtained of ten AS patients fulfilling the modified New York criteria. According to the BASDAI five of these patients had low and five had high disease activity. Secondly, an extra PET-CT scan using [18F]Fluoride was made of two additional AS patients with high disease activity. MRI scans of the total spine and sacroiliac joints were performed, and conventional radiographs of the total spine and sacroiliac joints were available for all patients. Scans and radiographs were visually scored by two observers blinded for clinical data.
No increased [18F]FDG and [11C](R)PK11195 uptake was noticed on PET-CT scans of the first 10 patients. In contrast, MRI demonstrated a total of five bone edema lesions in three out of 10 patients. In the two additional AS patients scanned with [18F]Fluoride PET-CT, [18F]Fluoride depicted 17 regions with increased uptake in both vertebral column and sacroiliac joints. In contrast, [18F]FDG depicted only three lesions, with an uptake of five times lower compared to [18F]Fluoride, and again no [11C](R)PK11195 positive lesions were found. In these two patients, MRI detected nine lesions and six out of nine matched with the anatomical position of [18F]Fluoride uptake. Conventional radiographs showed structural bony changes in 11 out of 17 [18F]Fluoride PET positive lesions.
Our PET-CT data suggest that AS activity is reflected by bone activity (formation) rather than inflammation. The results also show the potential value of PET-CT for imaging AS activity using the bone tracer [18F]Fluoride. In contrast to active RA, inflammation tracers [18F]FDG and [11C](R)PK11195 appeared to be less useful for AS imaging.
After lumbar or lumbosacral fusion for various spine disorders, adjacent segment disease has been reported. Most of the studies have focused on proximal segment disease. The author has reported sacroiliac joint degeneration in these patients. Based on our own experiences with an increasing number of patients with sacroiliac joint (SIJ) arthralgia after multi-level lumbar or lumbosacral fusion procedures, we evaluated a surgical procedure called distraction arthrodesis of the SIJ for patients with refractory severe pain of the SIJ.
Materials and Methods:
Nineteen (19) consecutive patients were recruited and evaluated prospectively after undergoing distraction arthrodesis of the SIJ. The inclusion criteria for the surgical procedure were degeneration of the SIJ and failed conservative treatment. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans and CT scans were performed in all cases. The clinical outcome was assessed using the Visual Analog Scale and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). CT scans were performed postoperatively and again at the final followup to evaluate assess fusion. The data was analyzed using the SPSS software (version 10.0; SPSS, Chicago, IL) and statistical analysis was performed. The P values were based on the Student t-test.
The mean followup was 13.2 months. All patients had an instrumented lumbar or lumbosacral fusion. The overall fusion rate of SIJ was 78.9% (15/19 joints). All patients demonstrated significant improvement in VAS and ODI scores compared to preoperative values. The mean VAS score was 8.5 before surgery and was 6 at final followup, demonstrating 30% improvement. The mean ODI scores were 64.1 before surgery and 56.97 at the final followup, demonstrating 12% improvement.
Refractory sacroiliac pain as a result of multi-level fusion surgery can be successfully treated with minimally invasive arthrodesis. It offers a safe and effective treatment for severe SIJ pain. Careful patient selection is important.
Arthrodesis; distraction; interference; recesses; sacroiliac joint
Computed tomography (CT) was compared with plain radiography in 41 examinations of selected patients with a clinical history suggestive of sacroiliac joint disease. The obliquity of the sacroiliac joints renders radiographic interpretation difficult. In the 41 cases who were examined with standard anteroposterior and posteroanterior radiographs of the sacroiliac joints, four were normal, eight abnormal and 29 were equivocal. Equivocal findings included indistinct and possibly irregular articular margins to the joints and subarticular sclerosis. Of the 29 equivocal studies, nine were normal on CT and 20 were abnormal. CT demonstrated definite changes of sacroiliac joint disease in 29 of the 41 examinations, 16 of which were sacroiliitis and 13 osteoarthritis. With plain radiography four of the eight abnormal studies were consistent with sacroiliitis, and four with osteoarthritis. It is concluded that CT is more sensitive than plain radiography in the evaluation of sacroiliac joint disease, and is especially valuable when there are equivocal plain radiographs.
Several literature reviews have addressed the reliability of spinal and sacroiliac (SI) motion palpation (MP), finding that, in general, interexaminer reliability is slight and intraexaminer reliability is moderate.
We performed a literature search of four biomedical databases to locate articles that dealt with MP of the spine or SI joints. The abstracts of the retrieved citations were independently screened for inclusion by two of the authors. The full-text of potentially includable articles was examined by the same two authors to assess whether they met all of the inclusion criteria. The validity of the included studies was evaluated using a 6-point scale.
The initial searches netted 415 citations; another 30 were harvested from the secondary search. Fifty-nine articles were removed as duplicates and 305 failed to meet the inclusion criteria. Another 33 were excluded because they did not adequately describe the method of analysis, used a combination of tests, were not actually MP studies, or were not reliability studies.
Summaries of 48 articles that dealt with the reliability of spinal and SI MP are presented. Where appropriate, we have commented on some of the methodological deficiencies that were discovered.
motion palpation; spine; sacroiliac; reliability
Low back pain affects a considerable proportion of the population and can significantly decrease quality of life. Radiofrequency ablation is an emerging technique that may offer relief from pain for patients experiencing chronic low back pain. This systematic review of the procedure aimed to summarize its efficacy in the treatment of pain in different regions of the low back.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), a procedure using heat to interrupt pain signals in spinal nerves, is an emerging treatment option for chronic low back pain. Its clinical efficacy has not yet been established.
To determine the efficacy of RFA for chronic low back pain associated with lumbar facet joints, sacroiliac joints, discogenic low back pain and the coccyx.
A systematic review was conducted. Medline, EMBASE, PubMed, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL and the Cochrane Library were searched up to August 2013. Abstracts and full-text articles were reviewed in duplicate. Included articles were sham-controlled randomized controlled trials (RCTs), assessed the efficacy of RFA, reported at least one month of follow-up and included participants who had experienced back pain for at least three months. Data were extracted in duplicate and quality was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. Due to heterogeneity, as well as a lack of reported mean differences and SDs, meta-analysis was not possible using these data.
The present systematic review retrieved 1063 abstracts. Eleven sham-controlled RCTs were included: three studies involving discogenic back pain; six studies involving lumbar facet joint pain; and two studies involving sacroiliac joint pain. No studies were identified assessing the coccyx. The evidence supports RFA as an efficacious treatment for lumbar facet joint and sacroiliac joint pain, with five of six and both of the RCTs demonstrating statistically significant pain reductions, respectively. The evidence supporting RFA for the treatment of discogenic pain is mixed.
While the majority of the studies focusing on lumbar facet joints and sacroiliac joints suggest that RFA significantly reduces pain in short-term follow-up, the evidence base for discogenic low back pain is mixed. There is no RCT evidence for RFA for the coccyx. Future studies should examine the clinical significance of the achieved pain reduction and the long-term efficacy of RFA.
Chronic low back pain; Low back pain; Radiofrequency ablation; Visual analogue scale
Radiography is an unreliable and insensitive tool for the assessment of structural lesions in the sacroiliac joints (SIJ). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detects a wider spectrum of structural lesions but has undergone minimal validation in prospective studies. The Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC) MRI Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) Structural Score (SSS) assesses a spectrum of structural lesions (erosion, fat metaplasia, backfill, ankylosis) and its potential to discriminate between therapies requires evaluation.
The SSS score assesses five consecutive coronal slices through the cartilaginous portion of the joint on T1-weighted sequences starting from the transitional slice between cartilaginous and ligamentous portions of the joint. Lesions are scored dichotomously (present/absent) in SIJ quadrants (fat metaplasia, erosion) or halves (backfill, ankylosis). Two readers independently scored 147 pairs (baseline, 2 years) of scans from a prospective cohort of patients with SpA who received either standard (n = 69) or tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) inhibitor (n = 78) therapy. Smallest detectable change (SDC) was calculated using analysis of variance (ANOVA), discrimination was assessed using Guyatt’s effect size, and treatment group differences were assessed using t-tests and the Mann–Whitney test. We identified baseline demographic and structural damage variables associated with change in SSS score by univariate analysis and analyzed the effect of treatment by multivariate stepwise regression adjusted for severity of baseline structural damage and demographic variables.
A significant increase in mean SSS score for fat metaplasia (P = 0.017) and decrease in mean SSS score for erosion (P = 0.017) was noted in anti-TNFα treated patients compared to those on standard therapy. Effect size for this change in SSS fat metaplasia and erosion score was moderate (0.5 and 0.6, respectively). Treatment and baseline SSS score for erosion were independently associated with change in SSS erosion score (β = 1.75, P = 0.003 and β = 0.40, P < 0.0001, respectively). Change in ASDAS (β = −0.46, P = 0.006), SPARCC MRI SIJ inflammation (β = −0.077, P = 0.019), and baseline SSS score for fat metaplasia (β = 0.085, P = 0.034) were independently associated with new fat metaplasia.
The SPARCC SSS method for assessment of structural lesions has discriminative capacity in demonstrating significantly greater reduction in erosion and new fat metaplasia in patients receiving anti-TNFα therapy.
Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain is a prevalent, underdiagnosed cause of lower back pain. SI joint fusion can relieve pain and improve quality of life in patients who have failed nonoperative care. To date, no study has concurrently compared surgical and non-surgical treatments for chronic SI joint dysfunction.
We conducted a prospective randomized controlled trial of 148 subjects with SI joint dysfunction due to degenerative sacroiliitis or sacroiliac joint disruptions who were assigned to either minimally invasive SI joint fusion with triangular titanium implants (N=102) or non-surgical management (NSM, n=46). SI joint pain scores, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Short-Form 36 (SF-36) and EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D) were collected at baseline and at 1, 3 and 6 months after treatment commencement. Six-month success rates, defined as the proportion of treated subjects with a 20-mm improvement in SI joint pain in the absence of severe device-related or neurologic SI joint-related adverse events or surgical revision, were compared using Bayesian methods.
Subjects (mean age 51, 70% women) were highly debilitated at baseline (mean SI joint VAS pain score 82, mean ODI score 62). Six-month follow-up was obtained in 97.3%. By 6 months, success rates were 81.4% in the surgical group vs. 23.9% in the NSM group (difference of 56.6%, 95% posterior credible interval 41.4-70.0%, posterior probability of superiority >0.999). Clinically important (≥15 point) ODI improvement at 6 months occurred in 75% of surgery subjects vs. 27.3% of NSM subjects. At six months, quality of life improved more in the surgery group and satisfaction rates were high. The mean number of adverse events in the first six months was slightly higher in the surgical group compared to the non-surgical group (1.3 vs. 1.0 events per subject, p=0.1857).
Six-month follow-up from this level 1 study showed that minimally invasive SI joint fusion using triangular titanium implants was more effective than non-surgical management in relieving pain, improving function and improving quality of life in patients with SI joint dysfunction due to degenerative sacroiliitis or SI joint disruptions.
Minimally invasive SI joint fusion is an acceptable option for patients with chronic SI joint dysfunction due to degenerative sacroiliitis and sacroiliac joint disruptions unresponsive to non-surgical treatments.
Minimally invasive surgery; sacroiliac joint; sacroiliac joint dysfunction; sacroiliac joint arthrodesis; minimally invasive spine surgery; randomized controlled trial