The sacroiliac joint in your pelvis can be a source of significant pain and loss of function if it’s too stiff, too loose, or becomes inflamed. If you have sacroiliac pain and dysfunction, Jay Shah, MD, of SamWell Institute for Pain Management in Colonia and Livingston, New Jersey, can help. Dr. Shah and his team have considerable experience assessing and treating sacroiliac joint pain and using advanced techniques like sacroiliac joint fusion to resolve chronic pain. Call SamWell Institute for Pain Management today or schedule an appointment online.
The sacroiliac joint joins your hip bones to your sacrum — the wedge-shaped bone at the base of your spine. It doesn’t move a great deal compared with a mobile joint like your knee or shoulder, just enough to allow you to bend forward and backward.
The sacroiliac joint’s chief function is to be a shock absorber, cushioning the area between the top and bottom halves of your body. If there’s damage or dysfunction in the sacroiliac joint, it can cause lower back pain and pain in your pelvis, hip, and groin.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunctions include excessive movement of the joint, insufficient movement in the joint, and inflammation in the joint.
Sacroiliac joint fusion is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for treating sacroiliac joint pain in patients who aren’t getting relief from nonsurgical treatments. The procedure lasts about an hour. Dr. Shah uses image guidance technology like fluoroscopy — a kind of moving X-ray — to view the surgery site.
To perform sacroiliac joint fusion surgery, Dr. Shah uses bone grafts or implants to join one or both sides of your sacrum to the ilium (the top part of your pelvis). This encourages new bone to grow, fusing the sacrum and ilium permanently, leading long-term sustained pain relief.
Dr. Shah typically performs sacroiliac joint fusion using minimally invasive techniques via a small entry point in your low back. He makes a hole in the bone for the implant and bone graft. The implant and/or graft make a bridge between the sacrum and ilium.
This approach is less likely to cause complications than open surgery, and recovery is much faster.
Most patients who have sacroiliac joint pain and dysfunction find nonsurgical approaches effective, so surgery is usually only an option when other treatments aren’t working.
You shouldn’t consider sacroiliac joint fusion unless you’ve followed a conservative treatment plan for at least three months, and have had success with diagnostic SIJ joint injections.
If your lower back pain or the pain in your hips and pelvis is still severe and disabling, and you’re struggling to manage home and work life, sacroiliac joint fusion surgery could be your best hope of relief.
The length of time it takes you to recover after sacroiliac joint fusion surgery depends on how severe your symptoms were, what techniques Dr. Shah uses to perform the procedure, and how wholeheartedly you embrace your rehabilitation.
You might continue to experience some post-operative pain for several weeks following sacroiliac joint fusion surgery. Full recovery can take 1-2 months.
Find out more about sacroiliac joint fusion and whether you’re a suitable candidate by calling SamWell Institute for Pain Management today or booking an appointment online.