Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery - Sacro-Illiac (SI) Joint FusionThe sacroiliac joint is a large joint in the pelvis that connects the sacrum and the ilium. This joint is strong, weight bearing and found on both sides of the pelvis. These joints move together. The joint contains strong internal and external ligaments. Due to age the joint’s stability can degrade as ligaments loosen and joint surfaces deviate from original orientations.
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
SI joint pain can be caused by dysfunction of one of the two joints. When one joints movement is impaired, pain may be experienced as lower back pain on one side or midline pain in the tailbone. The joint can travel too far or too little and feel “locked-up”. Pain can either be experienced as dull or sharp. In severe SI joint dysfunction, pain can be referred to the hip, groin, buttocks and down the back of the thighs.
Pain may be worse with movements that place pressure on the joint, including standing from a sitting position, walking uphill and from prolonged sitting and/or walking. The pain can be similar to pain caused by degenerative hip disease, hip bursitis, lumbar disc herniation and lumbar radiculitis. The SI joint can also become inflamed, resulting in sacroiliitis. The SI joint also effects many large and small muscles, causing spasms secondary to joint dysfunction or inflammation.
Sacroiliac Joint Fusion
Sacroiliac (SI) joint fusion is a surgical procedure that stabilizes the sacroiliac joint. This is generally used to treat back or leg pain caused by SI joint dysfunction. As treatment options for SI joint dysfunction have advanced, there has been increased recognition of the SI joint as a potential source of low back pain.
A majority of patients can be treated for SI joint pain or dysfunction through non-surgical treatments, Including anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and/or SI joint injections. Extreme cases may require surgical treatment when non-surgical therapy options have failed to alleviate symptoms.