BACKGROUND The indications for sacroiliac screw (SI) removal have been under debate. Data on complication rates of SI screw removal is missing in the current literature. The objective of this study was to compare the rate of intra- and perioperative problems and complications during SI screw removal to those with SI screw fixation.
METHODS A retrospective observational study with two interventions in the same cohort was performed. Consecutive patients who underwent both sacroiliac screw fixation for an isolated fracture of the pelvic ring and removal of the same implants between November 2008 and September 2015 (n = 19; age 57.3, SD 16.1 years) were included. Intraoperative technical problems, postoperative complications, duration of surgery, and radiation dose were analysed.
RESULTS Intraoperative technical problems occurred in 1/19 patients (5%) during SI screw fixation and in 7/19 cases (37%) during SI screw removal (p = .021). Postoperative complications were seen in 3/19 patients after SI screw fixation and in 1/19 patients after SI screw removal (p = 0.128). The surgical time needed per screw was longer for screw removal than for implantation (p = .005). The amount of radiation used for the whole intervention (p = .845) and per screw (p = .845) did not differ among the two interventions.
CONCLUSIONS Intraoperative technical problems were more frequent with SI screw removal than with SI screw fixation. Most of the intraoperative technical problems in this study were implant-related. They resulted in more surgical time needed per screw removed but similar radiation time.