The sacroiliac joint is commonly called the “SI joint”. It is a strong, weight bearing joint in the lower back that connects the sacrum and the pelvis. There are two joints in total that move together as a single unit to act as shock absorbers for the spine. There is a small amount of movement in the joint, but normally the SI joint should fit together like a lock and key.
If the joint’s stability changes, inflammation (or sacroiliitis) and lower back pain result. The pain is often felt on one side of the lower back; however, if severe, it can also radiate to the hip, groin, buttocks, and down the back of the thigh.
Some conditions may allow for a minimally invasive surgery where the surgeon makes small cuts in the buttocks and uses imaging for viewing and maneuvering the surgical tools. If the patient’s condition warrants an open procedure, the surgeon makes a cut about 7-8” long and opens up the muscle and tissues to access the SI joint. The cartilage is removed between the sacrum and the ilium. A bone graft may occur, along with screws to hold it together while it heals.
Because the bone fuses during the healing time following the surgery, continued pain and other symptoms can be expected, but will typically begin to alleviate within a few weeks. The entire recovery process for sacroiliac joint fusion can take up to 6 months.
Minnesota SI Joint Surgeons
For a complete evaluation to understand if you are a candidate for SI Joint fusion, complete the ‘Request an Appointment’ on this page, or contact Midwest Spine & Brain Institute at 1.800.353.7720 to schedule your consultation with a Stillwater spine surgeon.