Technical variation of trans-articular sacroiliac joint (SIJ) fusion using three screws considering the effects of sacral dysplasia in patients with non-traumatic SIJ pain

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2019 Aug 28;20(1):386. doi: 10.1186/s12891-019-2771-1.


Background: This study evaluated the technical adequacy of trans-articular sacroiliac joint (SIJ) fusion using three screws for non-traumatic SIJ pain, considering different grades of sacral dysplasia.

Methods: Cadaveric CT data of unilateral sacropelvic complexes for 72 individuals (53.4 ± 8.4 years) were selected. A 3D model was reformatted into the plain lateral radiograph to mark the articular surface of the SIJ. Subjects were classified into dysplastic (DYS) and non-dysplastic sacrum (NDS) groups. Proximal (PS), middle (MS), and distal screws (DS) with 10-mm diameter were virtually introduced to the iliac bone and the SIJ on the lateral image with a 5-mm safety margin. On a corresponding axial image, each screw was advanced vertically to the sagittal plane with the same safety margin. The entry points for each screw to the endplate of S1 (S2) and to the corresponding anterior sacral margin on the lateral image were measured, along with the maximal screw lengths on the axial image. Whether each screw passed through the SIJ was determined. Different types of sacral dysplasia and screws were compared statistically.

Results: Thirty-eight (26.4%) cases were DYS, and 106 (73.6%) were NDS. The entry points of all screws were significantly more distal in DYS than in NDS groups. The PS and MS screw lengths differed significantly between the 2 groups. Incidences of short sacral fixation (< 10 mm) were significantly higher for the DS in both NDS (38.7%) and DYS (39.5%) groups. Incidences of screw pass were lowest for the MS in both NDS (43.4%) and DYS (47.4%) groups.

Conclusions: Sacral dysplasia locates the SIJ more distally and therefore affects the entry point locations and screw lengths for all screws in trans-articular SIJ fusion, compared with a non-dysplastic sacrum. Moreover, three-screw fixation risks the development of unstable DS fixation and a high extra-articular fixation rate in MS.

Keywords: Non-traumatic SIJ pain; Sacral dysplasia; Sacroiliac joint; Trans-articular sacroiliac joint fusion.

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia / etiology
  • Arthralgia / surgery*
  • Arthrodesis / instrumentation
  • Arthrodesis / methods*
  • Bone Diseases, Developmental / complications*
  • Bone Diseases, Developmental / diagnostic imaging
  • Bone Diseases, Developmental / pathology
  • Bone Screws*
  • Cadaver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ilium / diagnostic imaging
  • Ilium / surgery
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Sacroiliac Joint / pathology
  • Sacroiliac Joint / surgery
  • Sacrum / diagnostic imaging
  • Sacrum / pathology*
  • Sacrum / surgery