Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Fusion

Sacroiliac (SI) joint fusion is a surgical procedure aimed at stabilizing and reducing pain in the sacroiliac joint, which is located at the base of the spine and connects the sacrum to the iliac bones of the pelvis. This procedure is typically considered when conservative treatments for sacroiliac joint dysfunction have not provided relief. Here is an overview of sacroiliac joint fusion for patients:
  • Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: Pain and instability in the sacroiliac joint, often due to degeneration, inflammation, or trauma.
  • Medical Evaluation: Patients undergo a thorough medical evaluation, including imaging studies (MRI, CT scans) to assess the extent of sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
  • Discussion with Surgeon: The surgeon explains the procedure, discusses potential risks and benefits, and answers any questions the patient may have.
  • Positioning: The patient is positioned face down on the operating table.
  • Anesthesia: General anesthesia is administered to ensure the patient is asleep and pain-free during the procedure.
  • Incision: An incision is made near the sacroiliac joint to access the surgical site.
  • Preparation of the Joint: The joint surfaces are prepared for fusion, which may involve removing damaged cartilage and roughening the bone surfaces.
  • Bone Graft Placement: Bone graft material is placed in the joint space to promote fusion.
  • Implant Placement: Implants, such as screws or rods, are inserted to stabilize the joint and facilitate fusion.
  • Closure: The incision is closed with sutures or staples.
  • Hospital Stay: The length of the hospital stay is typically one to several days.
  • Activity Restrictions: Patients are advised to avoid certain activities, such as heavy lifting or strenuous exercise, during the initial recovery period.
  • Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation exercises and physical therapy may be recommended to help restore pelvic stability and function.
  • Postoperative Visits: Patients have follow-up visits with the surgeon to monitor the healing process, address any concerns, and assess the effectiveness of the procedure.
  • Imaging Studies: X-rays or other imaging studies may be conducted to evaluate the fusion progress.
Potential Risks and Considerations:
  • As with any surgical procedure, there are risks, including infection, bleeding, and complications related to anesthesia.
  • The success of fusion may vary among individuals.
  • Implants may need to be removed if they cause discomfort or other issues.
It’s crucial for patients to have a detailed discussion with their healthcare team, including the surgeon, to understand the specifics of the surgery, potential risks, expected outcomes, and the postoperative care plan. The decision for surgery is individualized based on the patient’s specific condition and symptoms.


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