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What is a Sacroiliac Joint Fusion?

Are you suffering from unresolved lower back, hip, or groin pain? It’s possible that your sacroiliac (SI) joint could be the root of your discomfort. A sacroiliac joint fusion procedure could provide the stability and relief you need.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes of SI joint pain, the process of diagnosing SI joint dysfunction, non-surgical treatment options, and the innovative sacroiliac joint fusion procedure.

Key Takeaways

  • Sacroiliac joint fusion is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that provides stability and pain relief.
  • Post-operative care, follow-up assessments, and adherence to physician directives are vital for successful outcomes.
  • Patients have reported that sacroiliac joint fusion has positive long-term outcomes with improved quality of life.

Understanding Sacroiliac Joint Pain

The sacroiliac joint is located in the pelvis region and connects the hip bones to the sacrum area of the spine. This joint helps with transferring loads between those two parts. If damaged, this SI joint can be a source of immense pain, which can impact your activities or mobility immensely.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain represented by red color.

It is wise to familiarize yourself with how an injury to this specific junction can happen and to learn about the consequences such an injury will have on your daily life. Understanding these things will allow you to get a proper diagnosis and effective treatment from qualified professionals.

Anatomy of the Sacroiliac Joint

The sacroiliac (SI) joint is a connection between the ilium of the pelvis and the base of the spinal vertebra, called the sacrum. It serves as a link that allows forces to be transmitted from the spine into the legs. It also permits posture or position changes with walking and other leg and back motions.

When working properly, this SI joint not only stabilizes one’s backbone but also plays a vital role in carrying out balance activities. For instance, it can help support you in standing up straight or facilitate movements that involve both thigh muscles and the spinal area.

Common Causes of SI Joint Pain

SI joint pain is a condition that can cause discomfort in the lower back, hips, and legs, often due to injuries like degeneration or trauma in the area. Researchers have found that those who have undergone lumbar spinal fusion are at an increased risk of developing this issue. Sports-related traumas may also be responsible for SI joint aches.

Arthritis is another common contributing factor behind the onset of SI joint agony. Note that regardless of how it was caused, each case will require a proper medical assessment so it can receive suitable treatment accordingly. 

Effects on Daily Life

Si joint pain can be a major impediment to everyday life. Simple tasks become much more difficult, and your overall mobility is restricted. Examples of activities that may become harder are walking, climbing stairs or hiking, or engaging in aerobic activity due to discomfort. Even sitting cross-legged can be painful. The joint pain itself can lead to disturbed sitting patterns that further restrict your mobility. This hindrance is not only uncomfortable but has also been known to diminish the quality of life for those who suffer from it.

Stories shared among patients emphasize this painful effect on daily living. They also relate the tremendous relief they get after undergoing fusion surgery. Fusion surgery can help you regain comfort when engaging in common movements and restore functionality.

Diagnosing Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Accurately diagnosing SI joint dysfunction is key for successful treatment. A complete diagnosis can be achieved by combining various methods. For instance, your doctor may use a combination of tests, provocative maneuvers, and injections of local anesthesia to present a more thorough assessment.

A MRI Machine room and setup.

Diagnostic Tests and Imaging

Imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, bone scans, and ultrasounds can help diagnose pain linked to the SI joint.

  • X-ray images identify any erosion or structural changes near this area as well as any inflammation.
  • A CT scan is useful in detecting edema surrounding the sacroiliac joints along with other details that might be missed by X-rays.
  • An MRI offers especially clear imaging that detects possible conditions around the SI joint, such as edema or structural alterations. However, its accuracy may vary depending on different factors when it comes to diagnosing issues connected to this region.

For a more accurate diagnosis, combining these techniques with others could prove beneficial. A bone scan, for example, might detect an increased uptake from radiotracers, which indicates sacroiliitis. An ultrasound alone may not be so effective.

Local Anesthetic Injections

Local anesthetic injections are used to provide temporary pain relief and pinpoint the SI joint as the source of discomfort. Injecting lidocaine or bupivacaine-based local anesthetic into this particular area may result in quick relief from back pain. If that happens, it confirms that the issue you have is either originating from or significantly affecting the SI joint. The average time frame for which such treatment provides relief lasts around six hours.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options for SI Joint Pain

Investigating non-surgical treatment alternatives for SI joint pain is also highly recommended before opting into surgery. Several options, such as physical therapy and injection therapy, exist that may be able to provide relief from the discomfort associated with an SI joint disorder without resorting to surgical intervention. Pain medication could also serve as another viable option when seeking help for your condition.

Physical Therapy

For relief from SI joint pain, physical therapy can be a beneficial form of treatment that utilizes exercises and manual techniques to increase strength, mobility, and flexibility. Some specific practices that have proven advantageous for this issue include pelvic tilt, knee-to-chest movements, as well as inner thigh squeeze and outer hip stretch. All of these contribute to easing the soreness by reinforcing muscles around the affected area.

Physical Therapy for SI Joint Pain

The length of physiotherapy sessions that are necessary for you to overcome the agony associated with an SI joint dysfunction varies based on how severe your case is. Seeking advice from medical personnel will allow you to customize your approach in the best way possible.

Physical therapy aids in relieving discomfort associated with the SI joints. It provides you with better muscle power and flexibility. Plus, the motions can alleviate any sharp pains or aches connected to the area.

Injection Therapy

Injection therapy is a viable option for those who suffer from SI joint pain. Numbing and steroid medications are injected directly into the sacroiliac joint to reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief. It can also help in deciding whether or not surgery is necessary. It’s important to understand all of its potential risks and complications before taking this route towards treatment.

The Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Procedure

For those in which non-invasive treatments have not provided sufficient relief, a sacroiliac joint fusion is one potential surgical option. This form of minimally invasive surgery involves using titanium implants to stabilize the SI joint and deliver pain relief. The iFuse Implant System has exhibited improvements with regard to patient function, quality of life, and lowered pain levels postoperatively.

Benefits of Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac Fusion

The minimally invasive sacroiliac fusion offers several advantages, including a reduced incision, shorter operating time, and potentially quicker rehabilitation period when compared to conventional open surgery. The iFuse Implant System is specially designed for minimal invasion under image assistance, which reduces the effect on soft tissue or ligaments.

About 82% of patients who underwent this procedure using the implant system were highly satisfied with both short-term and long-lasting outcomes according to studies conducted.

Surgical Process and Recovery

The joint fusion procedure of the sacroiliac, or SI, involves three titanium implants inserted across the ligament under image guidance. This typically takes 1 to 2 hours to complete. Afterward, patients are discharged based on their post-spin surgery health status. Full recovery may take up to six months. Crucial aftercare instructions, including pain management techniques, physical therapy, and weight-bearing regulations, should be followed in order for proper recuperation. Routine follow-ups will help track progress accordingly.


Living with sacroiliac joint pain can be quite debilitating and have a major impact on your life. Knowing the source of this discomfort, going through a proper diagnosis process, and familiarizing yourself with treatments all contribute to making an informed decision when it comes to taking control of your health care.

If you suffer from SI joint pain, consider the advanced surgical procedure known as Sacroiliac Joint Fusion. Combined with proper post-op treatments, you may finally rid yourself of soreness while enjoying greater mobility and quality of life.

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