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Preliminary Results of Endoscopic Radiofrequency Treatment of the Sacroiliac Joint Syndrome
Background and Study The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) may be the primary source of pain in 15 to 25% of patients with axial low back pain. Furthermore, 75% of patients who have had fusion surgery develop SIJ pain within 10 years. Treatment options include SIJ blocks, radiofrequency (RF) denervation, and fusion. The RF techniques range from ablation of the nerves supplying the joint, creating lesions to the joint itself, or a combination of both techniques. However, different clinical studies could only identify a limited or, in some cases, no effect in decreasing of pain intensity and duration of the effect.
Methods In this retrospective study, we selected 23 patients with SIJ pain, with a duration of more than 12 months and a 50% pain reduction on the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) after diagnostic block. All patients received endoscopic ablation of the medial branch L5/S1 and the lateral branches, exiting the sacral foramina on S1/S2 and S2/S3 on both sides while using only one incision on each side. Telephone interviews were conducted with all patients. The outcome was determined with Odom's criteria, percent reduction NRS, subjective assessment of the patient, and duration of the effect.
Results According to Odom's criteria, 79% of the patients showed acceptable to excellent results and confirmed that denervation helped them to manage their daily lives better. The average pain reduction in the responder group was 57% with an average duration of 13.4 months.
Conclusion In this retrospective study, we could demonstrate the practicability and effectiveness of endoscopic SIJ denervation in the treatment of SIJ pain using only one incision for three levels on each side. Further studies should investigate if this procedure is more effective than percutaneous RF.
Received: 20 October 2019
Accepted: 19 March 2020
Article published online:
17 November 2021
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