Computed tomography osteoabsorptiometry-based investigation on subchondral bone plate alterations in sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJD) is an underappreciated source of back pain. Mineralization patterns of the sacroiliac (SIJ) subchondral bone plate (SCB) may reflect long-term adaptations to the loading of the joint. Mineralization densitograms of 27 SIJD patients and 39 controls, were obtained using CT osteoabsorptiometry. Hounsfield unit (HU) values of the SCB mineralization of superior, anterior and inferior regions on the iliac and sacral auricular surfaces were derived and statistically compared between SIJD-affected and control cohorts. Healthy controls showed higher HU values in the iliac; 868 ± 211 (superior), 825 ± 121 (anterior), 509 ± 114 (inferior), than in the sacral side; 541 ± 136 (superior), 618 ± 159 (anterior), 447 ± 91 (inferior), of all regions (p < 0.01). This was similar in SIJD; ilium 908 ± 170 (superior), 799 ± 166 (anterior), 560 ± 135 (inferior), sacrum 518 ± 150 (superior), 667 ± 151 (anterior), 524 ± 94 (inferior). In SIJD, no significant HU differences were found when comparing inferior sacral and iliac regions. Furthermore, HU values in the inferior sacral region were significantly higher when compared to the same region of the healthy controls (524 ± 94 vs. 447 ± 91, p < 0.01). Region mineralization correlated negatively with age (p < 0.01). SIJD-affected joints reflect a high mineralization of the sacral inferior region, suggesting increased SIJD-related mechanical stresses. Age-related SCB demineralization is present in all individuals, regardless of dysfunction.