Thoracic back pain caused by osteoarthritis of a single costovertebral joint is a poorly recognised condition. We report a series of five patients who were successfully treated by resection arthroplasty of this joint. Each had received a preliminary image-guided injection of local anaesthetic and steroid into the joint to confirm it as the source of pain. The surgical technique is described. There were no complications. The pain improved from a mean of 7.0 (6 to 8) on a visual analogue scale to 2.0 (0 to 4) post-operatively. The final post-operative Oswestry disability index was a mean of 19.4 (9 to 38). Isolated osteoarthritis of a costovertebral joint is a rare but treatable cause of thoracic back pain. It is possible to obtain excellent short- and intermediate-term relief from pain with resection arthroplasty in appropriately selected patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine