Neurosurgery of Kalamazoo
1541 Gull Road Suite 200
Kalamazoo, MI 49048 |

Answers to Frequenty Asked Questions

Discover Less Chronic Pain and More Life Gain

What is the sacroiliac (SI) joint?

The SI joint is the joint that holds your pelvic bones to your spine. Located between the sacrum (tailbone) and ilium (hip bone) in the pelvis, the sacroiliac joint [consider linking to some sort of diagram or visual of SI joint] is a common, but often overlooked, source of low back pain.

What is SI joint pain like?

SI joint pain can be debilitating. The pain can be so severe that patients can’t sit or put weight on one side. Simple walking or movement can be very painful. Unusual pains or numbness can even extend into the legs. Common SI joint pain symptoms include:

  • Unexplained chronic lower back, hip and/or leg pain
  • Pain that is typically worse when standing or walking and improved when lying flat on one’s back
  • Isolated, referred pain to the groin and thighs

What are the risk factors for SI joint problems?

SI joint pain is frequently found in people with a previous history of:

  • Pregnancy
  • Degenerative bulging disc disease
  • Posterior bone graft harvest
  • Lumbar fusions to the sacrum
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Bone spur
  • Chronic lower extremity pain

What are treatment options?

Treatment approaches for SI joint pain can include non-surgical options like physical therapy and intra-articular steroid injections. If pain persists, traditional surgical techniques typically attempt to stabilize the SI joint. However, a new minimally invasive surgical technique at Borgess (known as SI joint fusion) continues to yield excellent outcomes for lasting pain resolution.

More information about SI joint fusion at Borgess can be found by downloading our White Paper.

What is SI joint fusion?

Utilizing fluoroscopy, fusion is a minimally invasive approach involving the percutaneous insertion (through the skin) of two small, hollow titanium cages containing bone-growth-spurring material into the SI joint. This breakthrough technique provides excellent fixation, stabilization, and a conduit through which the ileum and sacrum can fuse.

Not all patients are candidates for the minimally invasive procedure. In these instances, an open procedure may be performed.

Who is a candidate for SI joint fusion?

Appropriate candidates for SI joint fusion must have:

  • Had pain for more than one year
  • Failed to get lasting relief from physical therapy, medication or other non-surgical approaches
  • Had an injection of an intra-articular steroid into the joint that produced significant relief

What distinguishes the Borgess Sacroiliac Joint Program?

Benefits of choosing the Borgess Sacroiliac Joint Program include:

  • Precise identification and management of SI joint dysfunction
  • Excellent outcomes for dysfunction and pain using non-operative strategies, as well as a collaborative team approach
  • A greater than 80 percent success rate in fusion and pain resolution (post two-year follow up for patients who underwent SI joint fusion at Borgess)
  • Continual communication with each patient’s referring physician

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