Overview & Procedure
Posterior sacroiliac joint fusion (SIJ) is a minimally invasive therapy for sacroiliac joint pain. The SIJ fusion is intended for conditions such as degenerative sacroiliitis and sacroiliac joint (SI) instability. The procedure allows for fusion and stabilization of the SI joint in eligible patients where appropriate nonsurgical treatment has failed and may provide immediate relief of pain symptoms. The SI joint is located in the lower portion of the back and upper buttocks and is often a source of chronic low back pain.
An SIJ fusion is performed in an outpatient surgery center or hospital. After anesthesia has been initiated the patient is positioned on their stomach on the operating table. Using fluoroscopy, the appropriate, corresponding sacroiliac joint(s) are identified. The skin and subcutaneous tissue are anesthetized. A small incision is made to allow access to the joint. A dilatation system is used to open the joint and a surgical spacer is placed that allows the joint to be fused in a stable and neutral position. Once the joint is treated the incisions are closed and the patient is transferred to the recovery room.
Immediately after the procedure, patients are sent to a separate room to recover. During this time, the patient’s vitals are monitored for any signs of an adverse reaction. Later that day, the patient will go home after they are given self-care instructions. An adult family member or friend will need to drive the patient home. Before leaving the clinic, patients are checked to be sure they have recovered from the anesthesia and are healthy enough to go home. A prescription for pain medication or other medications will be sent to the pharmacy following the procedure to be filled right away. Complications from this procedure are rare but may include fever, infection, bleeding, increased pain, or leg weakness. If the patient experiences these symptoms, they should report to the Southwest Spine and Pain Center. If it is after hours, they should report to the ER.