Ignoring the sacroiliac joint in chronic low back pain is costly

David W. Polly, Daniel Cher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-31
Number of pages9
JournalClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research
StatePublished - Jan 21 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Polly and Cher.


  • Chronic low back pain
  • Decision modelling
  • Healthcare costs
  • Lumbar fusion
  • Sacroiliac joint fusion
  • Sacroiliac joint pain


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