Can SI Joint Fusion relieve my neck or back pain?

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Can SI Joint Fusion relieve my neck or back pain?


What is an SI Joint Fusion?

An SI Joint Fusion is used to eliminate the pain of sacroiliac joint dysfunction when less invasive methods, like joint injections, fail to provide relief.

Most cases of SI joint dysfunction will resolve on their own after six weeks of physical therapy or conservative treatment. However, for more stubborn cases of SI joint pain, a patient may choose to undergo surgery.

Because “too much” or “too little” joint movement can cause SI joint dysfunction, an SI joint fusion fixes this problem by:

  1. Adjusting the joint into a more favorable position
  2. Permanently stabilizing the joint by fusing the sacrum to the ilium

As such, this procedure typically consists of the following two phases:

Phase 1: Accessing & Adjusting the Joint

To reach the SI joint, your doctor will access the hip bone through a small incision in the buttock. To allow for better access to the pelvis, the strong muscles of your buttock will be retracted to the side.

After gently moving the gluteals to the side, your surgeon will use a tiny pin to bore a hole into the ilium (i.e. the crest of the hip). Using a small drill, your surgeon will create a groove that passes through the hip bone all the way to your sacrum. After removing any irritated tissue or bone spurs, your doctor will insert an implant (like the ifuse implant system) into the groove. This implant relies on titanium pins and screws to hold the SI joint firmly into the proper position.

Phase 2: Fusing the SI Joint

During the second phase of this procedure, your doctor will insert a bone graft into the SI joint. The bone graft material will be sourced from the SI bones, such as the crest of the hip. Even after your procedure comes to a close, this bone graft will continue to grow. Over time, your sacrum and ilium will fuse into one continuous strip of immovable bone. By welding the sacrum and ilium together, you will no longer be plagued by SI joint pain.

What are the Advantages of an SI Joint Fusion?

There are many benefits to choosing minimally invasive SI joint fusion over open surgery. If you elect to receive this procedure, you can enjoy the following:

  • Smaller incisions (only 2-3 cm) and less scarring than open procedures
  • Shorter operative times (only 1 hour of surgery)
  • Patients report less pain and lower disability indices after SI fusion
  • Faster healing times and improved quality of life

Need an SI Joint Fusion to relieve your hip and leg pain? Our board-certified spine experts were named Top Doctors in their craft by NJ Monthly Magazine. To find superior spine care in Morristown, NJ, contact our team at the Advanced Spine Center today!

Do you Qualify for an SI Joint Fusion?

If you are interested in receiving an SI joint fusion, then your doctor will likely require that you undergo at least 6-12 weeks of non-surgical treatment before he or she recommends you for surgery. Most cases of SI joint pain will clear up on their own, given time and sufficient intervention.

For those who live in chronic pain from SI joint dysfunction, you may wish to consider minimally invasive surgery. If your pain interferes with your ability to walk, then you may be a candidate for joint fusion surgery.

If you are a smoker, have a history of failed spinal fusion, or have been recently diagnosed with a sacral infection, then SI joint fusion may not be right for you. To find out if you qualify for one of our minimally invasive procedures, like SI joint fusion, contact the Advanced Spine Center today! Our board-certified spine experts have over 20 years of experience in resolving SI joint pain!

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