The Advantages of Having a Sacroiliac Joint Fusion
Researchers estimate that sacroiliac joint dysfunction accounts for 15 to 30% of all lower back pain. This is most likely due to the sacroiliac joint’s role in assisting you in bending while simultaneously absorbing pressure, transmitting force and pressure from your lower back to your legs. However, the sacroiliac joint is prone to tension and damage, resulting in discomfort. San Bernardino SI joint surgery aims to strengthen this joint and relieve discomfort. Aside from pain reduction, other advantages of a sacroiliac joint fusion include enhanced quality of life, improved everyday function, and reduced disability.
What is the sacroiliac joint?
The sacroiliac joint, composed of the sacrum and ilium bones, is a stress absorber between the spine and the legs. It is a C-shaped joint with cartilage inside and many supporting ligaments. There are two sacroiliac (SI) joints in each patient. A right and left. SI joint discomfort is prevalent, affecting 15-30% of people with low back pain. Patients who have had lumbar fusions are especially vulnerable to SI joint damage. According to one recent study, up to 75% of individuals with lumbar fusion will experience SI joint degeneration. Trauma, degeneration, inflammation, pregnancy, ligament laxity, and muscle weakness are other reasons for SI joint damage.
Sacroiliac joint fusion techniques
Fusion surgery is classified into two types: minimally invasive and open.
- Minimally invasive surgery
This is the most common type of SI joint fusion surgery. The surgeon creates small incisions in your buttocks and uses X-ray pictures to determine where to place surgical equipment. Then, your surgeon will drill holes in the sacrum and ilium and insert implants to strengthen the joint. The procedure usually takes approximately an hour, and you will likely be hospitalized for a day or two to recover. You will require crutches for the next 4 to 6 weeks. Additionally, it may take up to 6 months to return to full strength in all of your typical activities.
- Open operation
Open surgery, which does not involve minimally invasive technologies, is increasingly seldom used since the minimally invasive technique has fewer problems and a shorter recovery period. Research comparing minimally invasive methods to open procedures discovered that both operations resulted in considerable clinical improvement for patients in pain ratings and disability, with minimally invasive surgery patients improving in all parameters.
Recovering after your SI joint surgery
You may require an ambulatory support device, such as a cane or crutches to minimize undue pressure on the surgical site. Weight-bearing activities (how many heavy objects you carry and move) are often restricted for up to 6 weeks after surgery by surgeons. However, some physicians may recommend you to avoid hard lifting for up to 12 weeks following surgery to ensure that the bone and surgical implants heal correctly. Additionally, doctors may prescribe activity restrictions such as not lifting more than 10 pounds or bending at the waist excessively. Before you resume total physical activity, your surgeon may request six months of follow-up imaging.
Some people have lower back discomfort as a result of sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Minimally invasive sacroiliac joint fusion has improved outcomes and shortened recovery periods. If conservative approaches haven’t relieved your severe lower back pain, you should discuss this prospective treatment option with your doctor. Call Ali H. Mesiwala, MD, FAANS, or book your appointment online to determine whether SI joint surgery procedures suit you.