SI Joint Fusion
When your sacroiliac joints begin to experience dysfunction, you might begin to experience lower back or leg pain. One of the treatments available to you is SI joint fusion, which is a minimally invasive surgery that helps you overcome the pain associated with sacroiliac joint disruptions and degenerative sacroiliitis.
To learn more about the surgery and determine whether it could help your lower back or leg pain, reach out to a knowledgeable doctor. They could work with you to help you get back to a pain-free life.
How SI Joint Fusion Works
The sacroiliac joints are located between the sacrum, the triangular bone that supports the spine from the bottom and the ilium bones of the pelvis located on either side of it. Using SI joint fusion, surgeons graft together the sacrum and the ilium to eliminate any movement of the sacroiliac joint between them.
The surgeon follows a general procedure:
- Create an incision over the lower back and move the muscles to the side
- Drill a small hole into the ilium to access the sacroiliac joint
- Clear muscles and ligaments from the sacroiliac joint
- Insert a bone graft and surgical implants to promote bone growth
- Return muscles to their original positions and close the site with sutures
In some cases, both of the sacroiliac joints will need to be fused and stabilized. In these situations, the patient will be asked to recover from the first surgery before moving on to the second that fuses the second joint. Regardless, the result is the stabilization of the pelvis and sacroiliac joints, which ideally leads to a reduction in pain.
Who Should Consider this Procedure
Dysfunctional sacroiliac joints due to wear and tear, inflammation, or disease can cause pain in numerous areas of the body, including the legs, buttocks, groin, and lower back. A person may experience pain when standing up, walking, sitting, or sleeping. It can negatively impact their life in many ways, which is why so many people seek treatment that can curb these symptoms.
Typically, surgeons will only attempt sacroiliac joint fusion after nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy and medication have been attempted for least eight to 12 weeks with no effect. It is important to note that the leg pain that stems from sacroiliac joint dysfunction is hard to differentiate from the pain caused by sciatica. For this reason, it is important to consult with a surgeon before jumping to any conclusions about a particular pain.
The potential benefits of sacroiliac joint fusion are:
- Minimal postoperative pain
- Reduced blood loss
- Small incisions and minimal damage to surrounding muscle tissue
- Faster recovery than open spine surgery
As with any surgery, there are risks. These risks include the failure to alleviate pain and a displacement of the pressure to the lower spine. However, when used in the proper situation and conducted by the right surgeon, this is a safe and effective minimally invasive surgical option.
Talk to a Doctor About SI Joint Fusion
In the medical field, the idea that pain can stem from sacroiliac joints is only now becoming accepted. Unfortunately, many physicians are uncomfortable making a diagnosis due to SI joint dysfunction slipping by imaging tests.
Connecting with surgeons that are experienced with sacroiliac joint dysfunction and the benefits of joint fusion is crucial. To learn more about SI joint fusion, call today, an experienced doctor will be happy to help you and answer any questions you have.