Clinical Data

MIS SI Joint Fusion after failed thermocoagulation (Soliman - Technol Health Care 2022)

One-year results of minimally invasive fusion surgery of the sacroiliac joint as an alternative treatment after failed endoscopic thermal coagulation

Soliman O, Pflugmacher R, Koch EM, Mohamed H, van der Beck S, Abdallah H, Bornemann R.
Technol Health Care. 2022;30(5):1125-1138.
DOI: 10.3233/THC-213183. PMID: 35342062.


Background: While pain in the severe sacroiliac joint (SIJ) is a common cause of lower back pain, SIJ disease is often overlooked as a diagnosis.

Objective: This study examines the extent of sufficient long-term pain relief and functional improvement in patients with SIJ syndrome that are treated with thermocoagulation. Some patients treated with thermocoagulation noted initial improvement, but the functionality and pain relief had limited duration and efficacy. Patients with insufficient improvement were recommended to undergo fusion surgery as an option for better and longer lasting results.

Methods: Patients with a long history of back or pelvic problems were selected for the study. Endoscopic thermal coagulation of the SIJ was carried out. The follow-up examinations took place after 1, 3, 6, 12 months. In patients with insufficient pain relief and functionality after thermocoagulation, a fusion surgery was performed. The results of the fusion surgery were documented over a 12-month follow-up period. To carry out the statistical evaluation visual analog scale (VAS), Oswestry-Disability-Index (ODI) and the consumption of opioids were recorded.

Results: Forty-eight patients were included. The mean VAS values 12 months after thermocoagulation were 68.9. The ODI after 12 months was very near or somewhat higher than their baseline prior to the thermocoagulation. Thus, a fusion surgery was recommended. Thirty-three patients agreed to the fusion operation. The VAS values 12 months after fusion surgery decreased to 53.1. Analogous to the VAS values, the Oswestry index (ODI) showed a significant improvement after the fusion operation.

Conclusion: The success of surgical intervention in 88% of the SIJ syndrome patients with inadequate results 12 months after thermocoagulation proves the superiority of SIJ fusion surgery. This study showed long-lasting pain relief by an average of 65% and a median improvement in functional impairments of 60%. In view of these results, fusion surgery should be considered for patients without sufficient success of thermocoagulation.

Keywords: SIJ; fusion surgery; iFuse; implant systems; sacroiliac joints syndrome; thermal coagulation.

Author Information

Soliman O, Pflugmacher R - Department of Orthopaedics and Spine Surgery, Krankenhaus Mechernich, Mechernich, Germany.
Koch EM, van der Beck S - Clinical Research, Alsbach, Germany.
Mohamed H - Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.
Abdallah H - Department of Orthopaedics and Spine Surgery, Wadi el Neel Military Hospital, Cairo, Egypt.
Bornemann R - Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery, University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany.

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