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      Cooled radiofrequency denervation for treatment of sacroiliac joint pain: two-year results from 20 cases

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          Sacroiliac joint pain is a common cause of chronic low back pain. Different techniques for radiofrequency denervation of the sacroiliac joint have been used to treat this condition. However, results have been inconsistent because the variable sensory supply to the sacroiliac joint is difficult to disrupt completely using conventional radiofrequency. Cooled radiofrequency is a novel technique that uses internally cooled radiofrequency probes to enlarge lesion size, thereby increasing the chance of completely denervating the sacroiliac joint. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of cooled radiofrequency denervation using the SInergy™ cooled radiofrequency system for sacroiliac joint pain.


          The charts of 20 patients with chronic sacroiliac joint pain who had undergone denervation using the SInergy™ cooled radiofrequency system were reviewed at two years following the procedure. Outcome measures included the Numeric Rating Scale for pain intensity, Patient Global Impression of Change, and Global Perceived Effect for patient satisfaction.


          Fifteen of 20 patients showed a significant reduction in pain (a decrease of at least three points on the Numeric Rating Scale). Mean Numeric Rating Scale for pain decreased from 7.4 ± 1.4 to 3.1 ± 2.5, mean Patient Global Impression of Change was “improved” (1.4 ± 1.5), and Global Perceived Effect was reported to be positive in 16 patients at two years following the procedure.


          Cooled radiofrequency denervation showed long-term efficacy for up to two years in the treatment of sacroiliac joint pain.

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          Most cited references 16

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          The sacroiliac joint in chronic low back pain.

          This was a cross-sectional analytic study. In relation to pain from the sacroiliac joint, this study sought to establish 1) its prevalence, 2) the validity of pain provocation, 3) whether any arthrographic abnormalities predict a response to joint block, and 4) whether certain pain patterns discriminate patients with this diagnosis. The true prevalence of sacroiliac joint pain is unknown and despite a plethora of clinical tests, none of these tests has been validated against an established criterion standard. To our knowledge, arthrography of the sacroiliac joint had never been studied. Forty-three consecutive patients with chronic low back pain maximal below L5-S1 were investigated with sacroiliac joint blocks under image intensifier using radiographic contrast followed by 2% lignocaine. Information was obtained on pain provocation, analgesia, and image pattern. Thirteen patients (30%) obtained gratifying relief of their pain. Nine of these also exhibited tears of their ventral capsule. Groin pain was the only pain referral pattern found to be associated with response to sacroiliac joint block. The sacroiliac joint is a significant source of pain in patients with chronic low back pain and warrants further study.
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            Randomized placebo-controlled study evaluating lateral branch radiofrequency denervation for sacroiliac joint pain.

            Sacroiliac joint pain is a challenging condition accounting for approximately 20% of cases of chronic low back pain. Currently, there are no effective long-term treatment options for sacroiliac joint pain. A randomized placebo-controlled study was conducted in 28 patients with injection-diagnosed sacroiliac joint pain. Fourteen patients received L4-L5 primary dorsal rami and S1-S3 lateral branch radiofrequency denervation using cooling-probe technology after a local anesthetic block, and 14 patients received the local anesthetic block followed by placebo denervation. Patients who did not respond to placebo injections crossed over and were treated with radiofrequency denervation using conventional technology. One, 3, and 6 months after the procedure, 11 (79%), 9 (64%), and 8 (57%) radiofrequency-treated patients experienced pain relief of 50% or greater and significant functional improvement. In contrast, only 2 patients (14%) in the placebo group experienced significant improvement at their 1-month follow-up, and none experienced benefit 3 months after the procedure. In the crossover group (n = 11), 7 (64%), 6 (55%), and 4 (36%) experienced improvement 1, 3, and 6 months after the procedure. One year after treatment, only 2 patients (14%) in the treatment group continued to demonstrate persistent pain relief. These results provide preliminary evidence that L4 and L5 primary dorsal rami and S1-S3 lateral branch radiofrequency denervation may provide intermediate-term pain relief and functional benefit in selected patients with suspected sacroiliac joint pain. Larger studies are needed to confirm these results and to determine the optimal candidates and treatment parameters for this poorly understood disorder.
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              Sacroiliac joint pain: a comprehensive review of anatomy, diagnosis, and treatment.

               Joshua Cohen (2005)
              Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain is a challenging condition affecting 15% to 25% of patients with axial low back pain, for which there is no standard long-term treatment. Recent studies have demonstrated that historical and physical examination findings and radiological imaging are insufficient to diagnose SI joint pain. The most commonly used method to diagnose the SI joint as a pain generator is with small-volume local anesthetic blocks, although the validity of this practice remains unproven. In the present review I provide a comprehensive review of the anatomy, function, and mechanisms of injury of the SI joint, along with a systematic assessment of its diagnosis and treatment.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                04 July 2013
                : 6
                : 505-511
                [1 ]Pain Management Centre, Raffles Hospital
                [2 ]Pain Management Centre, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Kok-Yuen Ho 585 North Bridge Road, Raffles Pain Management Centre, Level 13, Singapore 188770, Tel +65 6311 2310, Fax +65 6311 2373, Email ho_kokyuen@ 123456raffesmedical.com
                © 2013 Ho et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Research


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