Volker Fuchs, Benjamin Ruhl

January 2018, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 194 - 204 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-017-5313-2

First Online: 20 October 2017


The aim of the given study was to evaluate the long-term outcomes of patients undergoing sacroiliac joint (SIJ) distraction arthrodesis to treat SIJ-related pain.


Descriptive prospective multi-center cohort study involving 20 hospitals in Germany. Between January 2011 and June 2012, 171 patients with chronic SIJ pain underwent indirect arthrodesis of the SIJ using a distraction implant. The patients were questioned prior to surgery, 6-weeks, and 3-, 6-, 12- and 24-months postoperatively. Overall patient satisfaction was surveyed along with pain medication intake, the Million Visual Analogue Scale (MVAS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), Short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ), 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12), Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and a pain drawing. Bony fusion of the SIJ was evaluated using X-ray and computed tomography (CT).


A majority of patients (73%) reported to feel better or much better 24 months post-surgery, 49% of the patients reduced their pain medication intake. The MVAS dropped from 63 to 36%, the ODI improved from 51 to 33%, the SF-MPQ decreased from 50 to 31%, the SF-12 physical component summary rose from 22 to 41%, the mental component summary increased from 40 to 55%, and pain as measured by the VAS decreased from 74 to 37 points (all comparisons p < 0.001). In the follow-up CT scans 31% of the patients showed SIJ fusion.


SIJ distraction arthrodesis has shown satisfactory outcomes in patients with SIJ-related pain for all scores reported in the surveys, accompanied by increased functionality.

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