Send to

Choose Destination
J Ther Ultrasound. 2017 Jun 26;5:17. doi: 10.1186/s40349-017-0095-x. eCollection 2017.

Ablation of the sacroiliac joint using MR-guided high intensity focused ultrasound: a preliminary experiment in a swine model.

Author information

Department of Medical Physics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10065 USA.
Department of Radiology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10065 USA.
Tri-Institutional Laboratory of Comparative Pathology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, The Rockefeller University, Weill Cornell Medical College, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10065 USA.
Department of Anesthesiology-Critical Care, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10065 USA.



Dysfunction of the Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) is one of the key sources of low back pain. For prolonged pain relief, some patients undergo fluoroscopic guided radio-frequency (RF) ablation of SIJ, during which a number of RF probes are inserted to create thermal lesions that disrupt the posterior sacral nerve supply. This procedure is minimally invasive, laborious, time-consuming and costly. To study if High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) ablation is a feasible alternative approach to SIJ pain treatment, we performed experiments using HIFU to ablate SIJ in the swine model.


Three female Yorkshire swine (36, 35.2 and 34 kg) underwent bilateral Magnetic Resonance guided HIFU (MRgHIFU) ablation of the SIJs. Treatment assessment was performed using contrast-enhanced imaging, histopathology and evaluation of pain and changes in ambulation and gait.


Contiguous lesions along the right and left SIJs were achieved in all animals. In one out of three animals, excessive heating of the muscle and skin tissue in the near-field resulted in unwanted muscle necrosis. No changes in animal behavior, ambulation or gait were detected.


The initial experiments with MRgHIFU ablation of SIJs in sub-acute swine model show promise for this ablation modality as a non invasive and more precise alternative to the currently used fluoroscopically - guided RF ablations and injections.


Ablation; Back pain; Denervation; FUS; Focused ultrasound; HIFU; MRI; MRgHIFU; Nerve; Neurolysis; Sacroiliac joint

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center