Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Fusion
The SI joints are located on both sides of your lower back and attach the pelvis to the lower part of the spine. At the top of the pelvis on each side is a wing-shaped structure called the ilium which attaches to the lower part of your spine called the sacrum. This is where the name “sacroiliac” comes from.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be caused by congenital problems, trauma, previous spine surgery, postpartum issues, inflammation, infection, and sometimes unknown factors. Issues with the sacroiliac joint can result in excessive motion, insufficient motion, or inflammation of the joint, which can then produce pain in the lower back area, buttocks, or lower extremity of the affected side.
SI joint fusion involves metal rods and bone graft material being placed into the joint to stabilize it and promote bone growth.
The SI fusion surgery will be performed after you have received SI diagnostic injections with expected results.
Depending on your medical condition, you may need clearance from your primary care physician or other specialist, such as a cardiologist. Certain medications may need to be stopped prior to surgery as well.
Preoperative blood work and testing is also required several days before the scheduled procedure.
After hospitalization, you will be released to either your home or a rehab facility, depending on your condition. A follow-up appointment in our clinic will then be scheduled, and you will be prescribed narcotic pain medications to be used for a limited time frame.
We recommend that our patients drink lots of water and eat high-fiber foods to prevent constipation that can often occur from these medications. Over-the-counter laxatives and stool softeners can be used, if needed, as well.
Your surgical incision will be made at the lower back and hip areas on the affected side and will be closed with surgical adhesives, sutures, or staples. Surgical staples and sutures will be removed during your postoperative visit in our clinic. Adhesive strips may be applied after staple removal to bring the edges of an incision together. These strips should be kept completely dry for the first 24 hours, and usually fall off within 7-10 days.
What You Can Do to Help with Your Recovery?
We strongly encourage our patients to quit all tobacco use, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigar pipes, chewing tobacco, and smokeless tobacco. The nicotine in these products decreases blood circulation, which in turn slows the healing of wounds and increases the risk of postoperative infection.
You will have some restrictions for approximately six weeks after the surgery, including minimal weight-bearing to the extremities of the operated side, thus requiring the use of crutches or a walker for support.
Oklahoma Center for Spine and Pain Solutions possesses years of experience diagnosing and treating bone, joint, and muscle injuries and conditions, including musculoskeletal and spinal disorders. Our team would love to help you find relief!