Effect of revision sacroiliac joint fusion on unresolved pain and disability: a retrospective cohort study

Levi Brown, Marc Swiontkowski, Kari Odland, David W. Polly, Jason Haselhuhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The sacroiliac (SI) joint is recognized as a source of low back pain in 15–30% of patients. Though randomized controlled trials have shown clinical improvement following SI joint fusion in 83.1% of patients, revision rates of 2.9% within 2 years have been reported. There is a paucity of literature reviewing this small yet significant population of patients requiring revision surgery. Methods: Following IRB approval, retrospective review of patients, who underwent a revision SI joint fusion from 2009 to 2021 was completed. Patient-reported outcomes were measured before and at each clinic visit after surgery with visual analoge scale (VAS) for back pain and Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). Patient characteristics (chronic opiate use and prior lumbar fusion) and surgical factors (operative approach, type/number of implants and use of bone graft) were recorded. Patient-reported outcomes were evaluated with Paired t and Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression determined if patients met the minimally clinical important differences (MCID) for VAS-back pain and ODI scores at 1 year. Results: Fifty-two patients (77% female) with an average age of 49.1 (SD ± 11.1) years met inclusion criteria. Forty-four had single sided revisions and eight bilateral revisions. At 1 year follow-up there was no significant improvement in VAS-Back (p = 0.06) or ODI (p = 0.06). Patients with chronic opioid use were 8.5 times less likely to achieve the MDC for ODI scores (OR 0.118, p = 0.029). There was no difference in outcomes when comparing the different surgical approaches (p = 0.41). Conclusion: Our study demonstrates patients undergoing revision surgery have moderate improvement in low back pain, however, few have complete resolution of their symptoms. Specific patient factors, such as chronic opiate use and female sex may decrease the expected improvement in patient-reported outcomes following surgery. Failure to obtain relief may be due to incorrect indications, lack of biologic fusion and/or presence of co-pathologies. Further clinical examination and consistent long-term follow-up, clarify the role revision surgery plays in long-term patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)533-542
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2024.


  • Disability
  • Pain
  • Revision surgery
  • SI fusion
  • SI joint


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