Review of injection techniques targeting the sacroiliac region in horses

E. Engeli and K. K. Haussler
October 2012
Equine Veterinary Education

Local anaesthetic techniques and diagnostic imaging tools are currently used in conjunction with thorough physical and lameness examinations to diagnose sacroiliac disease (SID) in the horse. The deep and inaccessible location of the sacroiliac joint (SIJ), however, often renders diagnostic imaging modalities, such as radiography, nuclear scintigraphy and ultrasonography, unreliable in identifying sacroiliac problems. The equine clinician therefore often has to rely on positive results of local anaesthetic techniques to confirm a diagnosis of SID. Regional infiltration techniques have been described but result in a diffuse distribution of large volumes of local anaesthetic solution throughout the entire lumbosacroiliac region, which is nonspecific to the SIJ and has the potential to produce false positive results. Several periarticular injection approaches to the SIJ have recently been described. A combination of periarticular SIJ injections with the use of modest amounts of local anaesthetic solution provides increased SIJ specificity, but may lead to false negative results in cases where the pain originates from surrounding soft tissues. This article clarifies terminology related to sacroiliac injections, reviews current injection techniques, highlights the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, and investigates injectate volume considerations.