Ignoring SI Joint is Costly (Polly - CEOR 2016)
Ignoring the Sacroiliac Joint in Chronic Low Back Pain is Costly
Background: Increasing evidence supports minimally invasive sacroiliac joint (SIJ) fusion as a safe and effective treatment for SIJ dysfunction. Failure to include the SIJ in the diagnostic evaluation of low back pain could result in unnecessary health care expenses.
Design: Decision analytic cost model.
Methods: A decision analytic model calculating 2-year direct health care costs in patients with chronic low back pain considering lumbar fusion surgery was used.
Results: The strategy of including the SIJ in the preoperative diagnostic workup of chronic low back pain saves an expected US$3,100 per patient over 2 years. Cost savings were robust to reasonable ranges for costs and probabilities, such as the probability of diagnosis and the probability of successful surgical treatment.
Conclusion: Including the SIJ as part of the diagnostic strategy in preoperative patients with chronic low back pain is likely to be cost saving in the short term.
KEYWORDS: chronic low back pain; decision modeling; healthcare costs; lumbar fusion; sacroiliac joint fusion; sacroiliac joint pain