Sacroiliac Joint Fusion – What You can Expect from Surgery
Located in the pelvis, the sacroiliac joint is responsible for absorbing shock and preventing extreme forces from impacting the spine. While there are many conditions that can cause sacroiliac joint pain, there are also various types of treatment options available including sacroiliac (SI) joint fusions. Additionally, most of the SI joint fusion procedures performed today are minimally invasive, which typically means less pain and scarring for the patient.
Why is Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Needed?
SI joint fusions are usually considered when SI joint pain fails to respond effectively to non-surgical treatments. SI joint fusion may be recommended if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Severe pain in the lower back, pelvis and hip region that interferes with your normal day-to-day activities.
- Lower back and pelvic instability that results in pain when walking or going from a standing to sitting position and vice versa. The severity of pain may escalate when walking on an incline such as going up the stairs.
- Stiffness in the back, hips, pelvis, and legs.
- Pain that is worse after sleeping or after you remain in a seating or standing position for an extended period of time.
How to Prepare for Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Procedure
Once SI joint pain is determined as the source of your symptoms, treatment can begin. While most patients respond well to conservative treatment methods such as oral medications, physical therapy or injection therapy, some individuals may have to consider other options to address SI joint pain, such as minimally invasive surgery. Here is a closer look at what you can expect:
- Before the Procedure: Diagnostic testing will be performed to confirm you are suffering from SI joint pain, and ensure the correct treatment is prescribed. Once the source of pain is determined, you will be given instructions by your surgeon regarding how to prepare for surgery.
- During the Procedure: The procedure is performed with either general or spinal anesthesia. A small, 1-2-inch incision is made along the side of the buttock and tissue is carefully moved aside until the affected joint is visible. Bone graft material and other titanium surgical implants may be used to encourage bone growth over the SI joint to provide further stability. The muscles and ligaments are then put back in place and the incision is closed with standard sutures.
- After the Procedure: The surgery can be performed in an hour and does not pose a high risk of complications. Depending on your condition, you can expect to be discharged on the same or following day. After surgery, you should be cautious when performing daily activities and avoid putting your full weight on your hip. If necessary, crutches can be used for additional support.
The Benefits of Sacroiliac Joint Fusion
Recent development of the minimally invasive SI joint fusion technique has made it possible to improve pain and disability, while also reducing the amount of time it takes to recover from surgery compared to traditional surgery methods. More benefits of this procedure include:
- Small incisions reduce the likelihood of severe scarring
- Minimal tissue displacement and blood loss
- Quick operating procedure and healing time
- Improved joint stability and significant pain relief
If you are considering sacroiliac joint fusion to relieve your SI joint pain, consult Dr. Lewis at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic. With over two decades of training and experience in providing patients with minimally invasive surgical solutions, he can help you determine if this procedure is right for you. With an extensive background in technical surgery, Dr. Lewis has established himself as one of the nation’s leading spine and brain specialists.
Contact us today to learn more about sacroiliac joint fusion or to schedule a consultation. We’ll find a solution that works for you. Call us at (601) 366-1011.