The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) Have today recommended the adoption of the iFuse device by Si-Bone, a Device Access Client.
The case for adopting the iFuse implant system to treat chronic sacroiliac joint pain is supported by the evidence. Using iFuse leads to improved pain relief, better quality of life and less disability compared with non-surgical management.
iFuse should be considered for use in people with a confirmed diagnosis of chronic sacroiliac joint pain (based on clinical assessment and a positive response to a diagnostic injection of local anaesthetic in the sacroiliac joint) and whose pain is inadequately controlled by non-surgical management.
Cost modelling indicates that after 8 years, using iFuse instead of non-surgical management will save the NHS around £129 per patient. It is likely that savings will then increase over time. Savings mainly come from fewer steroid joint injections and less pain relief medication with iFuse compared with non-surgical management.
The iFuse implant system (SI‑Bone) is a titanium implant intended for use in people with chronic sacroiliac joint pain. iFuse is placed across the sacroiliac joint using minimally invasive surgery, where it is intended to stabilise the joint and to correct any misalignment or weakness that can cause chronic pain. The implant is triangular, which is designed to limit movement and spread shear stresses evenly. It has a porous metal coating, which the company claims promotes bone-on-bone growth and encourages joint fusion. Typically, 3 implants are used per joint, depending on the size of the pelvis. Implanting iFuse is a technically challenging procedure for which surgeons need specific training (provided at no additional cost by the company).
The cost of iFuse stated in the company’s submission is £4,059, which includes 3 implants and the necessary consumables for the procedure. The cost of theatre time is estimated to be £1,310 per procedure (using HRG code HN13A‑F – Major hip procedures from NHS reference costs for 2015/16).
The claimed benefits in the case for adoption presented by the company are listed in the scope of this evaluation.
Chronic sacroiliac joint pain can affect people of any age and usually needs lifelong management. The standard of care is escalating non-surgical management, typically beginning with analgesic therapy (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or opioids) combined with physiotherapy. If these initial treatments are ineffective, invasive procedures may be considered. These include steroid injections into the sacroiliac joint itself and radiofrequency ablation to the nerves that supply the joint. Sacroiliac joint fusion may be considered if the chronic pain continues. This can be done through open surgery or through a minimally invasive procedure, using a device such as iFuse. Invasive procedures and surgical treatments for chronic sacroiliac joint pain are usually done by spinal surgeons and orthopaedic trauma pelvic surgeons working in specialist centres.
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