Treatments We Provide

Sacroiliac Joint Fusion

Sacroiliac Joint Fusion - APSM

What is Sacroiliac Joint Fusion?

The sacroiliac joint connects the base of your spine to your pelvis and can cause intense pain radiating down into the leg, making it difficult to stand and walk.

Sacroiliac joint fusion is a minimally invasive procedure that involves a small incision, usually less than two inches long. Using image-guidance, bone grafts are inserted across the sacroiliac joint to provide stability.

Why is Sacroiliac Joint Fusion performed?

Sacroiliac joint fusion may be recommended when the following symptoms persist for several weeks or months and do not respond to nonsurgical treatment:

  • Low back, hip, or groin pain that makes it difficult to function in everyday life and nonsurgical methods have not been effective. The pain can be felt on one or both sides of the body. One-sided low back pain is an early indication that the SI joint may be the cause of the pain. Pain is usually limited to the lower back and pelvis, but may radiate down the back of the leg (sciatica).
  • Instability in the pelvis and lower back, possibly causing pain or difficulty when standing, walking, or transitioning from sitting to standing or vice versa. Pain may be worse when climbing stairs or walking up an incline.
  • Stiffness and limited mobility in the low back, hips, groin, or legs.
  • Pain that is exacerbated after sitting or standing for long periods of time, or from certain sleeping positions, such as lying on the affected side for too long.

Usually, it is recommended that patients undergo at least 8 to 12 weeks of nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy, pain medications, injections, or radiofrequency ablation, before advising surgery.

If there is no relief after these treatments, patients may ultimately choose a surgery called sacroiliac joint fusion.

How is Sacroiliac Joint Fusion performed?

Sacroiliac joint fusion is a minimally invasive procedure involving a small incision, usually less than two inches long. Using image-guidance, bone grafts are inserted across the sacroiliac joint, providing stability. 

These fusion surgeries typically last about an hour and pose a low risk of complications during the procedure. Throughout the surgery, fluoroscopic imaging is used to appropriately implant instruments and prepare the sacroiliac joint.

What should I expect after Sacroiliac Joint Fusion?

Because the bone fuses during the healing time following the surgery, continued pain and other symptoms can be expected, but will typically begin to alleviate within a few weeks. The entire recovery process for sacroiliac joint fusion can take up to 6 months.

Most patients who undergo minimally-invasive fusion surgery are released from the hospital the next day able to walk.

Ice may be applied to the low back and buttock area around the surgical site for the first few days following surgery. 

Your physician will prescribe post-surgical physical therapy is to rehabilitate function in the low back and pelvis in a controlled, gradual manner with minimized pain. 

Returning to full weight bearing on the sacroiliac joint is usually gradual. A return to full weight-bearing may take longer, depending on the surgical methods used and progress made during physical therapy.

As with any surgery, sacroiliac joint fusion has possible risks and complications during or following surgery. During the procedure, risks include excessive blood loss or complications due to anesthesia; but these complications have been significantly reduced due to advancements in the technology used for minimally-invasive SI joint fusion.

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If you’re struggling with neck, back, or hip pain or any other spine related issues, schedule an appointment with us today to get back to living your life the way you’d like to.

Common Conditions We Treat