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Old 02-16-2012, 09:13 AM   #1
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Surgery update... SI Joint Fusion!!

Well I had my SI Joint fusion on 2-8-12 and was gonna post my experience up til now. Prior to the surgery I had dysfunction in my left SI Joint and nothing relieved my pain. So I went forward with the SI BONE I FUSE fixation. The surgery took only 1 hour and when I woke up in the PACU I was in sooooo much pain and my left leg felt like it was being sawed on. The surgeon thought it maybe from swelling and wanted to wait til the next day to do another CT. While in the PACU they pumped in 10mg of Dilaudid in less than 2 hrs along with demerol and valium. I was put on a PCA pump and finally got some relief. The next morning they ran the CT and the implant had moved forward onto my sciatic nerve and the lateral branch nerves. He opened the incision back up and backed the implant up and when I woke up I had ZERO pain except the surgical pain. I must say the incision is quite disgusting and around 3 inches long right on my left cheek. I am now 8 days post op and can say I am in NO pain except the surgical pain. I will be non weight bearing for 2 more weeks and then I will start moving around lightly. It has been so long since I can say that I am almost pain free. I would say around 85% improvement. I am so glad I had it done. My right side is still killing me and will need fusing probably within the next year. I am hopeful if that surgery goes well I can resume a normal life. I had a TLIF done originally and got no relief because IMO the SI Joints were my main pain source even though a discogram and MRI was positive at l5-s1. I would have to have had this done years ago. Anyone who suffer from SI Joint dysfunction I would reccommend this procedure to anyone. Once again I am so pleased to be almost pain free on my left side.

 
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:24 AM   #2
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Re: Surgery update.. SI Joint Fusion!!

If you had SI fusion years ago, it would not have been with the SI Bone...and you would have been non-weightbearing for months rather than weeks...and chances were good the surgery wouldn't have worked anyway...so, things work out for the best.

I'm delighted they figured out why you were in so much pain. I don't quite understand why the implant moved forward...but I'm glad the surgery noticed what was wrong. What is holding the implant in its proper place?

Hope the good healing continues for you.

 
Old 02-16-2012, 10:54 AM   #3
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Re: Surgery update.. SI Joint Fusion!!

[QUOTE=tetonteri66;4928940]If you had SI fusion years ago, it would not have been with the SI Bone...and you would have been non-weightbearing for months rather than weeks...and chances were good the surgery wouldn't have worked anyway...so, things work out for the best.

I'm delighted they figured out why you were in so much pain. I don't quite understand why the implant moved forward...but I'm glad the surgery noticed what was wrong. What is holding the implant in its proper place?

Hope the good healing continues for you.[/QUOTE]

The implant is over the top of a pin, somehow during them rolling me onto my back it slipped inward only a few mm and hit the nerves. He has done more than 20 of these in the last 6 months and it has never happened. Just a fluke if u will. I am just LUCKY that all impossible ***** happens to me.)) All is well and I am so much better off. I hope to have the next 1 in around 9-12 months.

 
Old 02-19-2012, 05:00 PM   #4
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Re: Surgery update.. SI Joint Fusion!!

That's good news Phil that your surgery went so well. I am actually interested in learning about this process of fusing an SI joint as I have had back pain for years, am fused from L3-S1 and now they are talking about fusing L2 and L3, yet I feel most of my pain originates from my left SI joint. They performed a discogram test on Saturday and it shows the disc at L2-L3 is having problems, but I do not want to be faced with an 8th surgery without them addressing the pain I have in my left SI joint region. I sure hope your recovery goes well and you continue to get better. If you have any links you can share regarding SI joint fusions I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.

 
Old 02-19-2012, 08:04 PM   #5
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Re: Surgery update.. SI Joint Fusion!!

Hi Vort Max,

Big Phil is only on the board sporadically so I thought I'd make a comment while you're awaiting his reply.

Have you had a SIJ nerve block? While it is not totally reliable, it can give a good indication of whether the pain is actually coming from the SIJ.

Regarding the discogram, it is a subjective test, used mainly to confirm what the surgeon already suspects regarding the condition of a particular disc. If you are not having specific symptoms from the L2-L3 pain distribution pattern, I wouldn't be too concerned about the results of the discogram.

Bigphil had the "new" SI joint fusion surgery which is showing better rates of success. The old system required a long period of non-weight bearing and had a low rate of success. We can't post links to any commercial site but you can look online for the I-fuse Implant System. It is a minimally-invasive surgery by SI bone.

Be sure you verify that your pain is coming from the SI joint before getting too interested in the fusion. It can take a long time for this type of pain to go away after you have a lower lumbar fusion....and there are other modalities to try before the surgery. Prolotherapy,or PRP ( platelet rich plasma) injections are showing results for some patients.

Last edited by teteri66; 02-19-2012 at 08:19 PM.

 
Old 02-20-2012, 05:39 AM   #6
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Re: Surgery update.. SI Joint Fusion!!

[QUOTE=Vort Max;4930621]That's good news Phil that your surgery went so well. I am actually interested in learning about this process of fusing an SI joint as I have had back pain for years, am fused from L3-S1 and now they are talking about fusing L2 and L3, yet I feel most of my pain originates from my left SI joint. They performed a discogram test on Saturday and it shows the disc at L2-L3 is having problems, but I do not want to be faced with an 8th surgery without them addressing the pain I have in my left SI joint region. I sure hope your recovery goes well and you continue to get better. If you have any links you can share regarding SI joint fusions I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance.[/QUOTE]

Hello Vort.. I can't post any links on here from what I understand but will tell you that the surgery hardware is called IFUSE and the company that makes them is called SI BONE out of California. It has been around since approval by the FDA in late 2008. In 2010 they trained over 400 surgeons from all over the USA. Since then many more have been trained. I would really stress that u exhaust every option u can before u start considering the fusion. I understand fully the pain iy can cause. A great start is to see a PM doctor and have them do diagnostic injection(s). They will use an needle guided by X ray and put in some contrast to make sure they are in the correct part of the joint and then push lidocabe into the joint and if u get more than 75% relief while doing the things that normally cause your pain then it's considered positive. They will repeat the same test a few weeks later to confirm the diagnosis. Once they determine that to be the pain source they will usually try a cortisone injection to see if that helps. If not then a lateral nerve branch block should be done. Followed by RFA of the nerves and if all these fail some will attempt prolotherapy. Usually only a fusion is done for dysfunction in the joint to stabalize the joint. The majority of pain in most is the sacroiliitis or the ligaments in the joint being inflamed. I only had the fusion done because over a period of years nothing else worked. You can email SI BONE and request literature on the surgery. You can also google it and watch animated videos of the procedure and there are some on U Tube. I would try everything before considering the fusion. I hope u can move forward and find the relief u need. Good luck..

BP

Last edited by Bigphil; 02-20-2012 at 05:41 AM.

 
Old 03-07-2012, 08:14 AM   #7
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Re: Surgery update.. SI Joint Fusion!!

Glad to hear that you are doing so well with this. I am currently looking into this procedure for myself, and your story gives me hope. My first diagnostic injection is scheduled later this month with my pain management doc, and I scheduled with the surgeon trained in this myself. He is part of a group of doctors I had already been seeing, so did not have to get a referral to see him. Could you at least say what city and state you had the surgery in? I know the procedure you are talking about, as I found that site and contacted the for doctors in my area that do the surgery. The surgeon I am seeing specializes in pelvic and hip trauma.

 
Old 04-07-2012, 03:37 AM   #8
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Re: Surgery update.. SI Joint Fusion!!

BigPhil.So glad i found this thread!And this site.I got hurt lifting at work about 3 dang years ago and blew out my SI joint.Also have a annular tear on the l5 s1 disc.They tell me the disc is not causing the pain.My SI joint tho is visibly hyper mobile.Ive had 3 sets of positive injections with the cortisone and anesthetic.2nd one thought i was healed but it didn't last.Been doing prolotherapy since last october every 4 weeks and then some PT after jan.Got some really good results but still in pain.The joint is tighter but still moves.PM DR says no more prolo.I have been looking at the infuse for quite some time but not talked to anyone who had it done.I am a 20 plus year automotive Tech who has not been able to work for 3 years because of this..Surgeons have been telling me my career is over..Im wondering if this fusion could save it.I have a lot of certifications with ford and gm that would go to waste.

 
Old 03-20-2013, 10:46 AM   #9
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Thumbs up Re: Surgery update.. SI Joint Fusion!!

I had a si joint fusion on feb 13 2013 using the Ifuse. It has went really well. I have no weight bearing on right leg for 6 weeks. The first week or so I had alot of pain from the incision site and had trouble lifting my legs my self to do the bed roll to get in bed. I stayed one night in hospital and was up on my crutches all night (couldn't sleep.) Dr. told me I can do whatever I am able to do without putting weight on my right legs and no pulling or pushing and no lifting over a certain amount. The recovery has gone really well. Taking the pain pills I had hardly any pain. Now I am off the pain pills and only feel a little bit where the rods are but I think mainly from not walking on that leg and it being stiff. I do some exercises and foot pumps on that side.I should be off the crutches april 1 so I am definitely looking forward to that. It hasn't been as bad as I thought. I am feeling none of the pain that I had before the surgery. I also feel more energetic since I am not in pain but ansy cause I can't do anything. Still not able to drive but will april 1. The doctor who did my surgery is in Flagstaff arizona at Northern Arizona Othopedic's. The surgeon is Dr. Hales. He has been trained using the Ifuse. I will keep posting after my appt on the 1st where my fist xrays will be taken. The incision healed great and can hardly tell it's there except for a little scar tissue where it feels kinda hard but have been rubbing mederma on it several times a day. That stuff is great for scars.

 
Old 04-02-2013, 04:28 AM   #10
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Re: Surgery update.. SI Joint Fusion!!

I'm seeing a neurosurgeon Friday and had hip surgery for femoral acitibular impingement but the si joint n nerve impingement went undiagnosed for three years and the pt had me doing exercises with it out...down slip over an inch....which caused more damage...after another eight months with a good to who manipulated it often and got it more stable, I'm stuck....it isn't improving and the nerves are worse....so, after years of complaining about the numb feet and more hip pain in the si joint and groin I'm hoping to be fixed..... But, Aetna considers the ifuse experimental..... How are you now? Did insurance pay for your surgery?

 
Old 04-02-2013, 02:02 PM   #11
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Re: Surgery update... SI Joint Fusion!!

I imagine you have been told that if the nerves have been compressed for a long time, it is doubtful that you will regain all feeling.

 
Old 06-16-2013, 12:44 PM   #12
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Re: Surgery update.. SI Joint Fusion!!

So ive not been on here in a while but had SI Fixation bilateral last year sept '12.The left side done great and the right side was getting there but during PT i was pushed too hard doing squats and the right side moved.. Been in pain ever since. Will be having the right screw removed and looks like i fuse going in place of it.. which means i guess 2 more holes drilled in me along with the one that is already there.. Just great lol

 
Old 07-06-2013, 05:35 PM   #13
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Re: Surgery update... SI Joint Fusion!!

I just read your comment, written about a year ago.

I had a bilateral sacroiliac joint fusion on May 9th, 2013. The surgeon used the I-Fuse/SI-Bone method.

Now, at two months post-op, I remain in SEVERE, EXCRUCIATING pain. I fear that something went awry with the surgery.

I'd like to know if you experienced SEVERE pain at 2-months post-op. I'd like to know how you are doing today.

Thanks for reading and, possibly, replying.

TwoDimes

 
Old 08-19-2013, 02:06 PM   #14
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Re: Surgery update... SI Joint Fusion!!

Dear TwoDimes,

I am so sorry to hear of your pain. I rue the day that I had fusion, a huge mistake in my case.

My screws are all loose, with 2 of them in the neural foramen (nerve roots). Are you able to flex your feet or wiggle your toes? Do you have TERRIBLE shin pain along with lower back? Curious as to possible nerve impingement causing your pain ( if none of those symptoms apply it doesn't mean that it's not nerve related).

There is also septic arthritis of SIjoints...don't know much about that though.

If your surgeon is not showing concern, find one who specializes in revision surgery. It took me awhile, but I found a surgeon willing to try to fix somebody else's mess. My hardware comes out in ten days. Best Wishes to you.

 
Old 08-19-2013, 03:21 PM   #15
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Re: Surgery update... SI Joint Fusion!!

English -- was yours also SI fusion or elsewhere in your spine?

 
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