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The sacroiliac (SI) joint is the largest bone in your body and connects your hip bones to either side of your sacrum (tail bone). It is an essential component for shock absorption to prevent impact forces from reaching the spine. When problems in that area occur, it can cause significant low back pain, and sometimes pain in the buttocks and legs. Degenerative joint issues, traumatic injury, or inflammatory joint disease are the most common reasons SI joint fusion may be recommended.
Sacroiliac (SI) joint fusion is a minimally invasive surgical option performed to provide immediate sacroiliac joint stabilization and allow long-term fusion.
Some common treatment recommendations for SI joint pain include nonsurgical treatment options like low-impact aerobic exercise, physical therapy, yoga, massage, ice packs alternated with heat, back braces, muscle relaxers, and anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medications. If your pain does not respond, your doctor may order oral steroids to reduce SI joint inflammation, steroid injections, and ablation to deactivate the nerves that cause your pain.
If your pain does not respond to these treatments, surgery may be recommended. The standard surgery Dr. Radcliff uses to address SI joint pain is minimally invasive SI joint fusion. The goal of this procedure is to provide stabilization and fusion of the SI joint by inserting implants across the joint to maximize post-surgical stability and weight-bearing capacity. The procedure is done through a small incision and takes about an hour.
Patients generally stay in the hospital overnight and can usually resume light activities within six weeks following surgery. Walking is highly encouraged and generally allowed on the same day of surgery or the next morning. Fusion of the two bones (sacrum and ilium) generally takes three months to grow together so that they don’t move.