The aging process in the sacroiliac joint: helical computed tomography analysis

J Orthop Sci. 2002;7(1):12-8. doi: 10.1007/s776-002-8407-1.


The purpose of this study was to compare the frequency of degenerative changes in the sacroiliac joint by age, sex, laterality, body mass index, and childbearing experience, based on computed tomography (CT) images obtained from the lower back of symptom-free subjects in different age groups. These data were used to trace the development of the sacroiliac joint until the occurrence of osteoarthritis with aging. CT transverse and coronal images were examined for the presence of the following degenerative signs: joint space narrowing, sclerosis, osteophytes, cysts, and erosion. The results indicated that joint degeneration begins in the 20s and tends to progress with age. Each form of degeneration was markedly more frequent in the 40s or older, and some type of degeneration was observed in the joints of all subjects aged 50 years or older. In terms of the localization of the joint degeneration, sclerosis was common on the upper and middle anterior of the articular surface of the ilium, and osteophytes were common on the anterior surface of the sacrum. Degeneration had progressed further in women than in men in every age group, and tended to progress faster in parous than in nulliparous women. It was presumed that the birth of the first child, rather than subsequent births had the greatest effect on the sacroiliac joint.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reference Values
  • Sacroiliac Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Sacroiliac Joint / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sacroiliac Joint / pathology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Distribution
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*