Did you know that up to 30 percent of all lower back symptoms originate in the sacroiliac joint? Lower back pain is a common complaint among adults and it can have several causes. Let’s learn about sacroiliac joints and how an innovative procedure can help.
What is a sacroiliac joint?
The sacroiliac (SI) joints are formed by the connection of the sacrum and the right and left iliac bones. The sacrum is the triangular-shaped bone in the lower portion of the spine, centrally located below the lumbar spine. While most of the bones (vertebrae) of the spine are mobile, the sacrum is made up of five vertebrae that are fused together and do not move.
How can the sacroiliac joint become damaged?
As with most other joints in the body, the SI joints have a cartilage layer covering the bone. When the cartilage is worn away, the bones begin to rub on each other. This can happen through injury, pregnancy or from normal wear and tear over time.
When such damage happens, it can cause significant discomfort from the lower back down to the lower buttock region and the upper leg. This discomfort can lead to debilitation and one’s quality-of-life may greatly suffer.
How do you treat this condition?
As a neurosurgeon, I often surgically treat patients with sacroiliac pain and I have been doing minimally invasive SI joint fusion for the past four years.
In early 2019, it was announced that I performed Ochsner Medical Center- Jefferson Highway’s first sacroiliac joint fusion surgery using the iFuse Implant System®. This is a procedure that is designed to offer a minimally invasive solution for patients who are no longer responding to conservative care and traditional open surgery is not desirable.
The procedure takes about an hour and involves three small titanium implants inserted surgically across the sacroiliac joint. The entire process is done through a small incision, with no soft tissue stripping and minimal tendon irritation. Patients typically leave the hospital the next day after surgery and depending on how well they are healing, can usually resume normal activities within six weeks.