SI Joint Fusion
If your back pain is below your belt and off to the side, feels like it's in your back pocket, then the issue may not be your back. It could be your sacroiliac joint. The sacroiliac joint, sometime called the SI joint, connects the tail bone to the pelvis. The sacroiliac joints live just below the low back, off the side and under your butt cheek. Although a true joint, they don't move much in everyday life except for one important exception. The sacroiliac joint opens up substantially in women during childbirth, to help make room for the baby's head to leave the pelvis.
Low back pain due to the sacroiliac joint occurs when the joint is inflamed, injured or arthritic. Like any other joint, the sacroiliac can become inflamed from excessive wear and tear. Sacroiliac joint fusion in Lexington, KY is a surgical procedure performed at Bluegrass Orthopaedics intended to join the sacrum to the pelvis. Our surgeons follow two steps to prepare the sacroiliac joint for fusion. First, the bony surfaces of the joint are roughed up. Second, a screw is placed across the sacroiliac joint so it cannot move. Movement prevents bone growth and fusion. Once the surgeon has completed the actual fusion process, joining two parts together with bone is done by you. Our bodies have a built-in mechanism for healing fractures.
Treatments can vary depending on the severity of your symptoms and how much they limit your everyday activities. The following are some of the treatment options:
- Medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
- Physical therapy can help provide strengthening and pelvic stabilization exercises to reduce the movement in the Si joint.
- SI belt wraps around the hips to help squeeze the sacroiliac joints together. This supports and stabilizes the pelvis and sacroiliac joints.
- SI joint injections can reduce inflammation and relieve the pain.
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The iFuse implant system is a minimally invasive option for patients suffering from sacroiliac joint disorders, including SI joint disruptions and degenerative sacroiliitis. The iFuse procedure offers several benefits compared to traditional sacroiliac joint surgery:
- Minimal incision size
- Immediate post-operative stabilization
- Minimal soft tissue stripping
- Potential of a quicker recovery
The iFuse system is intended for sacroiliac joint fusion for conditions including sacroiliac joint disruptions and degenerative sacroiliitis. Rehabilitation following SI joint fusion is determined by a combination of factors, such as the systems used to fuse the joint, the severity of symptoms prior to the surgery and the surgeon's preferences for rehabilitation. 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 process for sacroiliac joint fusion can take up to 6 months.
Sacroiliac joint inflammation is a difficult to determine diagnosis as it may come from an infectious disease or be caused by a rheumatology disorder. For many patients inflammation of the sacroiliac joint is not caused by infectious disease but by chronic degenerative inflammation including ankylosing spondylitis.
The goal of SI joint fusion in Lexington, KY is to relieve the symptoms of SI joint dysfunction by eliminating movement in the joint. This is accomplished in two ways:
- Immediate fixation: By placing an implant across the joint, the joint is instantly immobilized and long-term healing, or fusion, can begin.
- True SI joint fusion: Fixation is one component of fusion. To ensure relief lasts you need to grow new, solid bone across the joint.
Bluegrass Orthopaedics may recommend sacroiliac fusion surgery if you are experiencing severe sacroiliac joint dysfunction due to arthritis, injury due to accidents or falls, being overweight, uneven leg lengths, gout and spondylitis. If you are suffering from chronic lower back pain, come see us at Bluegrass Orthopaedics in Lexington, KY and discuss SI joint fusion to decide if this minimally invasive treatment option is right for you.