Current Issue - February 2024 - Vol 27 Issue 2


  1. 2024;27;E275-E284A Proposed Treatment Algorithm for Low Back Pain Secondary to Bertolotti’s Syndrome
    Case Study
    Ahish Chitneni, DO, Richard Kim, DO, Zachary Danssaert, DO, and Sanjeev Kumar, MD.

BACKGROUND: Chronic low back pain is widely prevalent, and there are a range of conditions that may result in the low back pain. In general, treatment of low back pain starts with conservative management such as medications, physical therapy, and home exercise regimens. If conservative measures fail, a range of interventional techniques can be employed to manage back pain. An uncommonly recognized cause of back pain is Bertolotti’s syndrome which is a result of back pain due to lumbosacral transitional vertebrae (LSTV). LSTV is a congenital abnormality either characterized by the lumbarization of the sacrum where the first sacral bone fails to fuse with the rest of the sacrum or the sacralization of the lumbar spine where the L5 vertebra fuses with the sacrum creating a longer sacrum. In many cases, the condition can be recognized by imaging techniques such as an x-ray, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging.

OBJECTIVES: To propose a treatment algorithm for patients with low back pain secondary to Bertolotti’s syndrome.

STUDY DESIGN: Case study and treatment algorithm proposal

METHODS: A treatment algorithm for patients with low back pain secondary to Bertolotti’s Syndrome which involves starting with local anesthetic and steroid injection of the pseudo-articulation, followed by radiofrequency ablation of the pseudo-articulation, and then complete endoscopic resection of the pseudo joint.

RESULTS: The proposed stepwise treatment guideline has the ability to diagnose Bertolotti’s syndrome as the cause of low back pain and provide symptomatic relief.

LIMITATIONS: Several limitations exist for the study including the fact that the algorithmic approach may not fit every patient. Additionally, there would be benefit in future research studies comparing each step of the algorithm with conservative measures to compare efficacy and long-term outcomes of the procedures.

CONCLUSIONS: Our stepwise approach to diagnosing and managing the pain resulting from Bertolotti’s syndrome is an effective method of treatment for the condition.

KEY WORDS: Chronic pain, low back pain, Bertolotti’s syndrome, pseudo joint, radiofrequency ablation, endoscopic resection