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Old 12-21-2011, 04:36 AM   #1
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Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

Hello.. I have finally after 3 opinions to proceed with the SI Joint fusion and will be using SI Bone IFUSE implants. OFC I have gotten literature from SI Bone and they say it;s over 70% success rate. My surgeon has done more than 15 of them and says most patients achieve 60% avg pain reduction, must be non weight bearing for 6 weeks, will set up PT at around 10 weeks etc. I have had a prior TLIF fusion 1 year ago and I just worry since the joint was an issue prior to the TLIF I may be in for a longer recovery due to the stress the fusion is putting on the SI Joint.. As of now I am totally miserable and any improvement would be great. I have to fly to see my brother in KY who is finally home from Iraq. The kids and wife will drive which puts me on edge in case I am not there if something happens. I can't do any thing other than sit for a minimal time, walk some, lay down for a few hrs and then It starts over. My life is a cycle of just that. Everything I do I weight the outcome as far as is it worth the pain afterwards. I just hope to hear from anyone who has had similar issues and used IFUSE with good results or negative results. This pain is by far worse than the IDD pain and sciatica I had before the fusion. Hope to hear some advise or suggestions..

Phil

 
Old 12-21-2011, 06:50 AM   #2
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

I'm just curious if any of your "second opinions" came from outside the area where you live.

Also, did you have SI joint problems prior to your fusion?

Last edited by teteri66; 12-21-2011 at 06:51 AM.

 
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:26 AM   #3
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

Yes I did have issues before my fusion. It just seems the fusion has made the dysfunction in the joint. I got 2 of my opinions here in Charlotte, NC.. The other was from Charleston, SC at MUSC from John Glaser MD. Being that's 4 hrs from home I went with a Charlotte surgeon with the most experience. John Glaser has performed the most in this area but didn't wanna travel after a surgery..

 
Old 12-21-2011, 08:04 AM   #4
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

I was just curious because SIJ fusion is pushed more in some regions of the country than in others. I guess I shouldn't use the word "pushed" -- let's say, it is done more frequently in some parts of the country...and it is a regional thing.

I know they are having better results with IFUSE than when the surgery was performed previously, but I think the question remains whether the joint should be fused at all and in which circumstances.

Are they doing one joint or both?

 
Old 12-21-2011, 08:20 AM   #5
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

1 joint will be fused..

 
Old 12-23-2011, 11:47 AM   #6
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

Hey Bigphil, I had L4-L5 spinal fusion back in Jan. of this year and the pain in my legs disappeared but I still have pain in my lower back and it has gotten progressively worse to the point I can't sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. I have had 3 opinons and all say it is the SI joint producing the pain. Next friday I am having both sides fused. Any pain relief will be welcomed.
My doctor tells me that this recovery will be much easier than the spinal fusion. That I could be back at work in the minimum of 4 weeks but not more than 6 weeks. He also has had good results from the 20 or so other patients that have had this done. I am so looking forward to having any reduced pain. The pain is becoming too much!!!
I will let you know how it goes after surgery

 
Old 12-23-2011, 04:30 PM   #7
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

Wow. I will be really curious to see if you are feeling like and able to return to work in 6 weeks. I've never heard of anyone recovering that quickly from any SIJ fusion.

What method is he using? Are you allowed to be weightbearing after surgery?

 
Old 12-27-2011, 10:16 AM   #8
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

I had looked into that SI Bone option for myself, as I do have an SI joint problem as well. Before I consulted with a doc about that, I had my new pain management doctor diagnose Facet Joint Syndrome. I have had RF Ablation for that, and now, I will see if the SI joint still needs to be dealt with. I also have a transitional vertebra with a pseudoarthrosis on the right side. I'll have to see what the next step is for me. The pseudoarthrosis may be putting pressure on my SI joint, so I have to talk to the doc about that, especially since I do still have some issues with the right hip.

The SI Bone does sound like a good option, and has a shorter recovery time than the traditional fusion. There are one or two doctors that I know of performing that procedure in Madison, WI.

Keep us posted on how it goes!

 
Old 02-15-2012, 07:01 PM   #9
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

I was scheduled for an SI joint fusion using iFuse in Dec'11 but had to postpone pending further review by my insurance provider. BCBS of Alabama finally issued a decisions last week --- the surgery is approved as medically necessary, but the iFuse instrumentation is not approved b/c it is considered "investigational". (I know that BCBS has funded this in the past, but wonder if they have institued a new policy given the class action lawsuit against the iFuse product.) May I ask who is your ins provider?

 
Old 02-16-2012, 09:18 AM   #10
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

[QUOTE=sawmom;4928623]I was scheduled for an SI joint fusion using iFuse in Dec'11 but had to postpone pending further review by my insurance provider. BCBS of Alabama finally issued a decisions last week --- the surgery is approved as medically necessary, but the iFuse instrumentation is not approved b/c it is considered "investigational". (I know that BCBS has funded this in the past, but wonder if they have institued a new policy given the class action lawsuit against the iFuse product.) May I ask who is your ins provider?[/QUOTE]

My main insurance provider is UHC. I was approved through them and I also have medicare now because my disability claim was finally approved last month. Both of them has paid almost all of the costs. GL with the surgery. I am so pleased I had it done last week. A huge improvement in pain relief..

 
Old 09-19-2012, 02:41 PM   #11
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

[QUOTE=Bigphil;4897745]Hello.. I have finally after 3 opinions to proceed with the SI Joint fusion and will be using SI Bone IFUSE implants. OFC I have gotten literature from SI Bone and they say it;s over 70% success rate. My surgeon has done more than 15 of them and says most patients achieve 60% avg pain reduction, must be non weight bearing for 6 weeks, will set up PT at around 10 weeks etc. I have had a prior TLIF fusion 1 year ago and I just worry since the joint was an issue prior to the TLIF I may be in for a longer recovery due to the stress the fusion is putting on the SI Joint.. As of now I am totally miserable and any improvement would be great. I have to fly to see my brother in KY who is finally home from Iraq. The kids and wife will drive which puts me on edge in case I am not there if something happens. I can't do any thing other than sit for a minimal time, walk some, lay down for a few hrs and then It starts over. My life is a cycle of just that. Everything I do I weight the outcome as far as is it worth the pain afterwards. I just hope to hear from anyone who has had similar issues and used IFUSE with good results or negative results. This pain is by far worse than the IDD pain and sciatica I had before the fusion. Hope to hear some advise or suggestions..

Phil[/QUOTE]
Hi Phil, I had spinal fusion in 2006 of L4-L5 with great success.. Approx. 1 year ago starting having horrible pain lower down with pain and numbness down my left leg and foot. After about 5 months of testing, MRI, x-rays, CT , injections, different medications it was determined finally that I had S1 Joint Dysfunction. In March had the IFuse surgery. At 4 weeks post-op was feeling better and the x-ray showed good rod placement. Was using a walker with just very light pressure on my left foot. At 6 weeks went from walker to cane and lessened pain medication at which time I immediately was having sharp and excruciating stabbing and grinding pain with the numbness and pain again down my left leg. Was sent for a CT which showed 1 rod shifted and was not in the bone. I was doing extremely bad and the loose rod had to be removed. I went in for another surgery and my surgeon totally removed the loose rod, screwed the remaining 2 in tighter, and scraped my bones to promote fusion. At 4-week post op I was feeling okay and the x-ray showed the rods remained in place. I was to continue to use my walker with only toe touch on left foot and he reduced my pain medication from every 4 hours to every 6 hours. Soon after this I began experiencing the stabbing pain in that area and pain and numbness down my leg and foot again. Next week go for a CT for my surgeon to get a better look at what is going on. So, sadly enough I am no better off now than prior to theses surgeries. In fact, I'm worse as I have to use a walker, can't sit for very long, and cannot even do basic household chores. All I can do is pray that this will pass and I will heal with proper fusion. Good Luck.

 
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:50 PM   #12
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

[QUOTE=Bigphil;4897745]Hello.. I have finally after 3 opinions to proceed with the SI Joint fusion and will be using SI Bone IFUSE implants. OFC I have gotten literature from SI Bone and they say it;s over 70% success rate. My surgeon has done more than 15 of them and says most patients achieve 60% avg pain reduction, must be non weight bearing for 6 weeks, will set up PT at around 10 weeks etc. I have had a prior TLIF fusion 1 year ago and I just worry since the joint was an issue prior to the TLIF I may be in for a longer recovery due to the stress the fusion is putting on the SI Joint.. As of now I am totally miserable and any improvement would be great. I have to fly to see my brother in KY who is finally home from Iraq. The kids and wife will drive which puts me on edge in case I am not there if something happens. I can't do any thing other than sit for a minimal time, walk some, lay down for a few hrs and then It starts over. My life is a cycle of just that. Everything I do I weight the outcome as far as is it worth the pain afterwards. I just hope to hear from anyone who has had similar issues and used IFUSE with good results or negative results. This pain is by far worse than the IDD pain and sciatica I had before the fusion. Hope to hear some advise or suggestions..

Phil[/QUOTE]

Phil - when are you planning to have the si joint fusion done? Will you be able to place any weight on the leg (will you use a walker or crutches)? It seems this surgery is like other back surgeries and can't guarantee any type of outcome. I've been to a doctor in my area who has done approximately 60 of these surgeries and am possibly contemplating it as well. I had a 3 level anterior/posterior fusion in Dec. 2011. This pain is debilitating. It seems to never end. Good luck.

 
Old 09-22-2012, 09:17 AM   #13
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

It is fairly common to have SI joint problems after a lower lumbar multi-level fusion...and it can take well over a year post surgery for the piriformis muscles and SI joints to start to function somewhat normally again post surgery.

It took me two years to rehab and get over the pain caused by the SIJ/piriformis issues after my L3-S1 revision surgery. Our goal was to go so slowly that I did nothing to aggravate the sciatic nerves. Just when I was about to give up, I turned the corner and that pain gradually resolved.

Have you looked into trying either prolotherapy or PRP (protein-rich plasma) injections before contemplating SIJ fusion? Even with the newer I-Fuse system, the failure rate for this surgery is awfully high. I think in part it is because many patients who have the surgery didn't actually have the problems for which it was designed. It isn't enough to just have some SI joint dysfunction -- that is rarely resolved by the surgery.

 
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Old 09-22-2012, 11:17 AM   #14
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

Have you had prolotherapy or PRP injections? I've looked at a few websites, and it appears it's usually not covered by insurance. If not, that's not something I would be able to do, even if it were something that might help. The cost would be prohibitive. I've discussed briefly SCS with my doctor, so I'm looking at options for down the road. I'm to the point that I am functioning for an hour or two each day without too much pain and the rest of the time I'm miserable. However, as I've done for years, I go on and live with it. It's very frustrating and overwhelming at times, but I give myself time to give in and then get over and go on. I could be much worse off, so I'm thankful for that. Thanks for your suggestions.

 
Old 09-28-2012, 11:47 AM   #15
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Re: Anyone used IFUSE for SI Joint fusion? Surgery 2-8-12

I am new to this board, but I am hoping that I can get some answers/ opinions. Long story short- I have had horrific back, hip and leg pain since giving birth to my daughter 6 years ago. I have done chiro, injections, other pain mgmt things. I have seen 3 different surgeons- all with different opinions as to what is wrong w me- 1 thought it was my bulged disc at l4/l5 wanted to do a fusion insurance would not cover it they said it was not necessary- onto surgeon 2- he wanted to cut my piraformus muscle- and told me he was not confident that would fix the pain and that I will have to be on heavy pain meds forever. Finally find surgeon 3- awesome dr. - he had me to ct guided injection into the si joint- I got some relief from that- so he concluded it is my si joint. He sends me to PT w a sports med therapist. This was 6 mos ago I go to pt 2 times a week and do me exercises every night. I am not better!!! Saw the surgeon the other day- wants me to consider IFuse......when I spoke to my PT she said no way that I was not there yet. When will I be? I am tired of being in so much pain but am not sure about the surgery..... Thoughts???
Thanks!

 
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