Desert Institute of Spine Care
Andrew M Cash, MD
Orthopedic Spine Surgeon located in Las Vegas, NV
It turns out that 15-30% of people with low back pain may not even have a back problem. Instead, their pain comes from damage in the sacroiliac joint (SI) between their hip and sacrum. Andrew Cash, MD, at Desert Institute of Spine Care can help you overcome the pain with accurate diagnostics and a minimally invasive SI fusion to stabilize the joint. To learn more about your treatment options, call the office in Las Vegas, Nevada, or book an appointment online today.
SI Fusion Q & A
What is an SI fusion?
An SI fusion is a surgical procedure to eliminate movement in the sacroiliac joint. The SI joints connect the sacrum, a triangular-shaped bone at the bottom of your spine, with your left and right hip bones.
Most of the joints in your body exist to provide extensive movement. But the SI joints are different. They have limited mobility because their job is to provide stability and transfer weight and force between your upper and lower body.
When problems develop in one or both SI joints and nonsurgical treatments don't help, the next step is surgery to fuse the sacrum and hip bones together. This stops the joint from moving, which in turn eases your symptoms.
What conditions may lead to an SI fusion?
SI joint dysfunction develops when the joint becomes damaged due to:
- Sports injury
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Sprained or weakened ligaments
- Traumatic injury such as a fall
- Prolonged bending or lifting
- Repetitive activities such as jogging
These conditions stretch the ligaments and cause other changes like cartilage degeneration. As a result, the joint loses stability and moves more than it should. To make matters worse, you may also develop sacroiliitis (inflammation in the SI joint).
What symptoms indicate I may need an SI fusion?
The most common symptoms of SI joint dysfunction include:
- Lower back pain
- SI joint pain
- Pain that spreads to your groin, buttocks, and hips
- Sharp pain that goes down one leg (but not below the knee)
- Tingling or numbness in one leg (but not below the knee)
- Stiffness in your back, hips, and pelvis
- Pain that's worse when running or climbing stairs
You may also feel like your pelvis will buckle or give way when you walk, stand, or get up from sitting.
What happens during an SI fusion?
An SI fusion is a minimally invasive procedure, which means Dr. Cash makes a small incision. After accessing the joint, he inserts a bone graft and/or places specialized implants over the joint to increase stability and prevent movement.
The bone graft usually consists of pieces of live bone, often collected from another part of your hip. The live bone promotes growth between the sacrum and pelvis, fusing the two bones together to restore stability.
If you have pain in your lower back, hips, or buttocks, call Desert Institute of Spine Care or book an appointment online today.
SI joint pain, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23253394/