Understanding Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
The sacroiliac joints are shock absorbers that connect the sacrum (triangular bone located at the end of the spine) to the pelvis. When they don’t move correctly, a condition called sacroiliac joint dysfunction occurs.
There are two common types of sacroiliac joint dysfunction – hypermobility and hypomobility. The first refers to dysfunction that results from too much movement of the sacroiliac joints. That movement loosens the surrounding ligaments and is often caused by pregnancy or injury. Hypomobility, on the other hand, is caused by too little movement in the joint and is often caused by degenerative joint diseases like arthritis. In either situation, the joint overcompensates for the problem, which causes pain in the low back, hips, and legs, as well as inflammation.
In the past, if sacroiliac joint dysfunction was diagnosed, and anti-inflammatories and other initial treatments weren’t enough to provide relief, a risky open surgery was the best option. This required muscle detachment that resulted in a multi-day stay in the hospital and months of limited activity.
Today, thanks to advancements in minimally invasive techniques, the outpatient iFuse implant procedure can restore function to the joints. The iFuse is a small and porous triangular implant designed to stabilize the sacroiliac joint by fusing the bones together.
What to Expect from the Procedure
Under anesthesia, this surgery requires a small incision – typically about one or two inches long – on the side of the buttock. Your surgeon will guide the instruments through the incision to prepare the bone and place the implants.
Throughout the procedure, he or she will use fluoroscopy (an imaging technique that allows your surgeon real-time images) to ensure accurate placement.
A typical iFuse procedure requires three implants and takes approximately one hour. Depending on your postsurgical status, you may be able to go home that same day, or you may require a short hospital stay. Almost immediately, you can be up and moving, though twisting at the hips and heavy lifting are discouraged for six weeks.
Benefits to Patients
The iFuse implant procedure can relieve pain, improve activity level, cut down on the need for pain medications, and help patients get back to a better quality of life. HS