Thomas J. Kibsgård, Olav Røise, Einar Sudmann, Britt Stuge

April 2013, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 871 - 877 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-012-2512-8

First Online: 23 September 2012


Fusion of the sacroiliac joints (SIJ) has been a treatment option for patients with severe pelvic girdle pain (PGP). The primary aims were to evaluate the long-term outcomes in patients who underwent SIJ fusion and to compare 1-year outcomes with long-term outcomes. The secondary aim was to compare patients who underwent SIJ fusion with a comparable group who did not.


This study includes fifty patients that underwent SIJ fusion between 1977 and 1998. Function (the Oswestry disability index; ODI), pain intensity (visual analogue scale; VAS) and health-related quality of life (SF-36) were determined according to a patient-reported questionnaire. The questionnaire scores were compared with previously recorded 1-year outcomes and with questionnaire scores from a group of 28 patients who did not undergo SIJ fusion.


The patients who underwent SIJ fusion reported a mean ODI of 33 (95 % CI 24–42) and a mean VAS score of 54 (95 % CI 46–63) 23 years (range 19–34) after surgery. Regarding quality of life, the patients reported reduced physical function, but mental health was not affected in the same manner. The patients with successful 1-year outcomes (48 %) retained significantly improved function and reduced pain levels compared with the subgroup of patients with unsuccessful 1-year outcomes (28 %). The patients who underwent surgery did not differ from the non-surgery group in any outcome at the long-term follow-up.


Patients treated with SIJ fusion had moderate disability and pain 23 years after surgery, and the 1-year outcomes were sustained 23 years after surgery. Although many fused patients reported good outcome, this group did not differ from the comparable non-surgical group.

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