Current Issue - September/October 2023 - Vol 26 Issue 5


  1. 2023;26;E413-E435Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Effectiveness of Therapeutic Sacroiliac Joint Injections
    Systematic Review
    Vidyasagar Pampati, MSc, Alan D. Kaye, MD, PhD, Mahendra R. Sanapati, MD, Rachana Pasupuleti, MD, Nebojsa Nick Knezevic, MD, PhD, Rajesh N. Janapala, MD, Emilija Knezevic, ., and Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD.

BACKGROUND: The sacroiliac joint is one of the proven causes of low back and lower extremity pain, ranging from 10% to 25% in patients with persistent axial low back pain without disc herniation, discogenic pain, or radiculitis. Despite the difficulty of diagnosis, multiple therapeutic modalities including surgical and nonsurgical interventions have been utilized. Among the interventional modalities, intraarticular injections are commonly utilized.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of intraarticular injections in the sacroiliac joint.

STUDY DESIGN: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies of the therapeutic effectiveness of intraarticular injections of the sacroiliac joint utilizing the Preferred Reporting Items For Systematic Reviews And Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) checklist.

METHODS: The available literature on therapeutic sacroiliac joint intraarticular injections was reviewed. The quality assessment criteria utilized were the Cochrane review criteria to assess risk of bias, the Interventional Pain Management Techniques – Quality Appraisal of Reliability and Risk of Bias Assessment (IPM-QRB) for randomized therapeutic trials, and the Interventional Pain Management Techniques – Quality Appraisal of Reliability and Risk of Bias Assessment for Nonrandomized Studies (IPM-QRBNR) for nonrandomized studies. The level of evidence was based on best evidence synthesis with modified grading of qualitative evidence from Level I to Level V.
Data collection was performed including literature published from 1966 through December 2022, as well as manual searches of the bibliographies of known articles.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome measures include pain relief and improvement in functional status at 3 months for a single intervention. Only the studies performed under fluoroscopic guidance, with at least 3 months of follow-up were included. Duration of relief was categorized as short-term (< 6 months) and long-term (> 6 months).

RESULTS: Based on the qualitative and quantitative analyses with a single-arm meta-analysis and the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations (GRADE) system of appraisal, and the inclusion of 11 RCTs (5 positive, 6 negative) and 3 observational studies (2 positive, one negative), the evidence was Level III or fair in managing low back pain of sacroiliac joint origin with sacroiliac joint injections.

LIMITATIONS: This systematic review and meta-analysis are limited by lack of eligible studies, inconsistencies among the available studies, variations in techniques, variable diagnostic standards for inclusion criteria, and finally, the inability to correlate the results and perform an optimal systematic review and meta-analysis.

CONCLUSION: The present systematic review and meta-analysis show an inability to perform conventional dual-arm analysis, whereas a single-arm meta-analysis demonstrated a difference of approximately 3 points on the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS) and 8 points on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI). However, there were no studies that considered >= 50% relief as the criterion standard. Overall, the qualitative and quantitative evidence combined shows Level III or fair evidence for therapeutic sacroiliac joint injections for managing low back pain of sacroiliac joint origin.

KEY WORDS: Chronic low back pain, sacroiliac joint pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, sacroiliitis, sacroiliac joint injection, sacroiliac joint nerve blocks, radiofrequency ablation, conventional radiofrequency, pulsed radiofrequency