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Fluoroscopically Guided vs Landmark-Guided Sacroiliac Joint Injections: A Randomized Controlled Study

      Abstract

      Objectives

      To determine the prevalence of intra- and extra-articular sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain, which injection is more beneficial, and whether fluoroscopy improves outcomes.

      Patients and Methods

      This patient- and evaluator-blinded comparative effectiveness study randomized 125 participants with SIJ pain from April 30, 2014, through December 12, 2017, to receive fluoroscopically guided injections into the joint capsule (group 1) or “blind” injections to the point of maximum tenderness using sham radiographs (group 2). The primary outcome was average pain on a 0 to 10 scale 1 month after injection. A positive outcome was defined as at least a 2-point decrease in average pain score coupled with positive (>3) satisfaction on a Likert scale from 1 to 5.

      Results

      For the primary outcome, no significant differences were observed between groups (mean ± SD change from baseline, –2.3±2.4 points in group 1 vs –1.7±2.3 points in group 2; 95% CI, –0.33 to 1.36 points for adjusted difference; P=.23), nor was there a difference in the proportions of positive blocks (61% vs 62%) or 1-month categorical outcome (48% vs 40% in groups 1 and 2, respectively; P=.33). At 3 months, the mean ± SD reductions in average pain (–1.8±2.1 vs –0.9 ± 2.0 points; 95% CI, 0.11 to 1.58 points for adjusted difference; P=.02) and worst pain (–2.2±2.5 vs –1.4±2.0 points; 95% CI, 0.01 to 1.66 points for adjusted difference; P=.049) were greater in group 1 than 2, with other outcome differences falling shy of statistical significance.

      Conclusion

      Although fluoroscopically guided injections provide greater intermediate-term benefit in some patients, these differences are modest and accompanied by large cost differences.

      Trial Registration

      clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT02096653.

      Abbreviations and Acronyms:

      LBP (low back pain), NRS (numerical rating scale), ODI (Oswestry Disability Index), SIJ (sacroiliac joint pain)
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