Current Issue - January 2016 - Vol 19 Issue 1


  1. 2016;19;E129-E136Clinical Outcome Following Radiofrequency Denervation for Refractory Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Using the Simplicity III Probe: A 12-Month Retrospective Evaluation
    Observational Study
    Dominic Hegarty, MB, FCARSCI.

BACKGROUND: Sacroiliac joint syndrome (SIJ) is diagnosed in 10% to 25% of cases of lower back pain. The response to traditional radiofrequency (RF) denervation of the SIJ has being inconsistent. The Simplicity III RF probe (Neruotherm. Inc.) offers a novel treatment option.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the long-term clinical outcome (12 months) refractory SIJ syndrome in terms of pain intensity and functional improvement. A 50% reduction in intensity pain intensity (VAS) at 12 months was deemed clinically significant.

STUDY DESIGN: A 12-month retrospective observational evaluation all of adults treated with RF for refractory SIJ.

SETTING: Chronic pain management center.

METHODS: The medical records of all adults treated with this technique was retrospectively reviewed. The primary outcome was pain intensity scores (VAS) over a 12 months period; Secondary outcomes included Roland-Morris Functional scores (RMF), Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), general health assessment (Sf12), and patient satisfaction scores (GPI), which were recorded pre and post denervation.

Results: Pain Intensity improved by 4.7 points compared to pre-treatment representing a 61% reduction in pain at 12 months (n=11, P < 0.001). Significant improvements in (a) RMF (P < 0.01, W2 = 0.63 (large effect size); (b) BPI (P < 0.001, W2 = 0.72 (strong effect size); and (c) Sf12 (P < 0.01) were noted. Overall patients were satisfied with the outcome (GPI = 77.7%).

LIMITATIONS: The retrospective in nature of the study and the small sample size are limitations. As it was our policy to monitor the progress of the individuals since the introduction of this technique a reliable method of recording the baseline and outcome variables at each point of contact was in place. Access to a complete set of variables in all individuals over a 12-month period was therefore possible, which we feel contributes to the quality of the dataset.

CONCLUSION: By creating a consistent radiofrequency lesion between the sacral foramen and the SIJ will reliably capture the innervation to the SIJ with significant long-term clinical improvement. This technique should be considered earlier in the treatment algorithm of individuals suffering from SIJ symptoms.

Key words: Sacroiliac Joint syndrome, radiofreqency denervation, Simplicity III probe, chronic pain, long-term clinical outcome, Roland-Morris Functional scores (RMF), Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), general health assessment (Sf12), patient satisfaction scores (GPI)