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Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac Joint Fusion: What You Should Know

Sacroiliac Joint Fusion

Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac Joint Fusion is a surgical choice used to treat sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction. The procedure is gaining popularity with both physicians and patients for its decreased recovery time and reduced soft tissue disruption when compared to traditional open surgery. Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac Joint Fusion takes place in a hospital operating room and lasts about one hour. After a one to two-day recovery period, the individual can be discharged home.

The SI joint supports the weight of the upper body and functions as an added cushion for the spine. SI joint dysfunction causes about 25% of low back pain but can be challenging to detect as symptoms can be similar to problems found in the lumbar spine. The area absorbs a significant amount of wear and tear and can begin to break down as we age.  In some cases, it can start to deteriorate after an individual has undergone lumbar fusion. The goal of SI joint surgery is to offer stability to assist with load-bearing.

The procedure begins with the individual lying on their stomach on an operating table, receiving a local or spinal anesthetic. The surgeon makes small cuts in each gluteal (buttock) muscle, using x-ray (fluoroscopy) as a guide. Once in correct position, holes are drilled into the sacrum and iliac bones, and three metal implants are attached. Implants are typically titanium, designed so that bone can grow into and around them, giving added support.

Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac Joint Fusion may be a safe and efficient treatment choice for individuals who meet the required criteria.  Benefits of this technique include:

  • Less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Need for bone grafting eliminated

Surgery for SI joint dysfunction should only be considered if the individual has experienced pain for six months or greater without relief from conservative treatments such as physical therapy, pain medication, or joint injections. Surgery can be a primary option for people suffering from an infection or a tumor.

If you have been experiencing worsening low back pain and would like to discuss treatment choices, please contact us at either our Seguin or New Braunfels clinic locations.

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