Effects on hip stress following sacroiliac joint fixation: A finite element study

JOR Spine. 2019 Oct 20;2(4):e1067. doi: 10.1002/jsp2.1067. eCollection 2019 Dec.


For those patients who suffer from low back pain generated by the sacroiliac (SI) joint, fusion of the SI joint has proven to be an effective means of stabilizing it and reducing pain. Though it has shown promise, SI joint fusion raises clinical questions regarding its effect on neighboring joints such as the hip. As such, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of SI joint fixation on the hip. A finite element spine-sacroiliac-hip (SSIH) model was developed and its functionality was verified against SI joint range of motion (ROM) and hip contact stress, respectively. The intact model was fixed in double leg stance at the distal femora, and loading was applied at the lumbar spine to simulate stance, flexion, extension, right and left lateral bending, and right and left axial rotation. Functionality was confirmed by measuring and comparing SI joint ROM and contact stress and area at the hip with data from the literature. Following verification of the intact SSIH model, both unilateral and bilateral SI joint fixation were modeled; hip contact stress and area were compared to the intact state. Average hip contact stress was ~2 MPa, with most motions resulting in changes less than 5% relative to intact; contact area changed less than 10% for any motion. Clinical significance: these results demonstrated that SI joint fixation with triangular titanium implants imparted little change in stress at the hip, which suggests that the risk of developing adjacent segment disease is likely low. Future clinical studies may be executed to confirm the results of this computational study.

Keywords: contact stress; finite element; hip; sacroiliac joint.