SI Joint Fusion
Desert Pain Specialists is now offering a minimally invasive procedure to treat lower back pain associated with the Sacro-Illiac(SI) Joint.
In recent years, SI Joint Fusion has developed and proven to be a viable option for patients with back pain. Generally speaking, the SI joint has been overlooked as a pain generator associated with back pain. Desert Pain Specialists have been successfully diagnosing and treating SI joint pain for many years and have understood the benefits from addressing pain in this region.
What is the Sacro-Illiac Joint?
The SACRUM is the very lowest portion of our spine. It is the base of our spine, which is below the lumbar vertebrae. The ILIUM is the portion of our pelvis, which most of us can feel on the outside of our hips. The pelvis is where our hip joint is located. This joint between our SACRUM and our pelvis is the Sacro-Illiac(SI) Joint. This joint carries a great portion of load. Essentially the entire weight of our spine, or upper body, is carried here. This weight is then transferred to our hips and legs across the SI Joint. The SI joint can generate pain becuase of the tremendous load it carries and when nerves in this area experience excessive motion.
Diagnosis and Treatment
There are specific diagnostics and tests that can be performed during an exam to determine if the SI joint is generating pain.
Once a patient is diagnosed and determined the SI Joint is generating pain, a conservative treatment plan is prescribed to include physical therapy and/or medications. An additional treatment option offered by Desert Pain Specialists, is to provide cortico-steroid injections directly into the joint causing the source of pain. This injection, most often, is a successful procedure and brings desired relief. However, injections are many times temporary, where relief could last from a varied range of weeks to months.
If conservative treatment or injections do not bring relief the, Physicians at Desert Pain Specialists now offer a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure to eliminate or reduce the excess motion in the joint to relieve pain.
Implants made of titanium are delivered through a small tube to provide fixation across the SI joint. This fixation eliminates/reduces motion in the joint directly addressing the pain generators. Additionally, the implants are treated with and accumulate cells to promote bone healing across the joint to further promote bone healing across the joint. This procedure is performed through a small incision and only lasting in duration normally 30-45 minutes; because this is a minimally invasive procedure, recovery time is quicker than traditional surgery.
About the Treatment
Prior to the SI joint fusing procedure, a pain specialist at Desert Pain Specialists will do an assessment. A detailed history and medical exam will help us make this diagnosis. Commonly an MRI and other tests such as an X-Ray will need to be ordered. If a trial of standard conservative treatment has be unsuccessful, then a patient becomes eligible for this procedure.
Individuals suffering of SI joint pain can be those who have sustained trauma to their lower back or extremities from such as an automobile accident, have had previous lower spine fusion procedures, or can also be women who have given birth; although SI joint pain is not exclusive to these conditions.
If you suffer from SI joint pain or suspect your continuing back pain may be associated with the SI joint, please contact Desert Pain Specialists to consult with our Medical Professionals.