I’ve had previous lumbar surgery. Can I still have SI joint fusion?
Yes you can. SI joint dysfunction often coexists with lumbar and hip problems. In fact, previous lumbar surgery or hip replacements sometimes contribute to SI joint dysfunction.5 But SI joint surgery can be performed after you’ve had one or both procedures. Your doctor will carefully consider the impact of any previous surgeries in addition to your overall health, before recommending SI joint fusion for you.

Why is “true SI joint fusion” important?
For decades, surgeons have trusted a few simple steps, or principles, to get the best possible results from a fusion. SImmetry is the minimally invasive SI joint fusion system that includes all three critical steps to achieve true fusion:

  • Decortication — Preparing the bone surface to trigger the body’s natural healing response.
  • Bone Grafting — Filling the space between bones with material bone may grow across.
  • Fixation — Placing threaded implants that prevent the joint from moving during the healing process.

How big is the incision?
The procedure requires two small incisions, usually only two centimeters long. They’re made on the side of your buttock and no muscles or ligaments are cut, enabling you to return to normal activity levels more quickly and with less pain than more invasive procedures.

Will I be awake during the surgery?
No. Your surgeon will use general anesthesia, so you will be unconscious during the procedure, which typically takes one hour to perform.

After the surgery is complete, when can I go home?
Your surgeon will decide the length of your hospital stay, but most patients return home after one or two days.

What will recovery be like?
Although each recovery is different, some patients experience immediate relief. Your surgeon will design a recovery plan to fit your situation. It will often limit your ability to bear weight for a few weeks—and will likely involve walking with crutches—to allow your body time to heal.

What complications can occur?
Although major complications with this type of procedure are rare, any surgery carries some risks such as bleeding, infection and nerve irritation. If you have other concerns, be sure to share them with your doctor. Your physician has information specific to the SImmetry System. He or she can provide you with more information specific to the indications, contraindications, warnings and precautions about this prescriptive device.

How soon can I get back to work, or my normal daily activities?
For the first 3 weeks post-op, your doctor will probably tell you not to sit or stand very long at a time, climb stairs or lift. This can affect your ability to do the things you ordinarily do, even as you start feeling better. Ask your doctor what you should expect, so you can plan ahead. And be patient— even with minimally invasive surgery, recovery takes time.

Is there anything I can do to speed up my recovery?
Ask your doctor about starting physical therapy (PT) when your SI joint is sufficiently stabilized. PT will help you learn how to move with the least strain on the joint, and regain strength and flexibility.

Will there be any restrictions on my activities once I’ve recovered?
After fully recovering from SI joint fusion surgery, you may be able to resume all the activities you used to enjoy. Of course that depends on y our surgical outcome, situation and lifestyle. There are a few things you can rule out—bungee jumping for instance! As far as less extreme activities are concerned, talk to your doctor about what’s safe and sensible for you.

If I should need future surgeries, will the SI joint fusion procedure cause problems?
No, it shouldn’t have any effect. But be sure to talk to your doctor about any issues or questions you might have concerning future surgeries.

Ref 1. Spoor AB, Oner FC (2013) Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery in Chronic Low Back Pain Patients. J Neurosurg Sci; Sep;57(3):203-18
Ref 2. Freburger JK et al. (2009) The Rising Prevalence of Chronic Low Back Pain. Arch Intern Med, 169(3):251-258
Ref 3. Simopoulos TT et al. (2012) A Systematic Evaluation of Prevalence and Diagnostic Accuracy of Sacroiliac Joint Interventions. Pain Physician; 15:E305-E344
Ref 4. Cohen SP et al. (2013) Sacroiliac Joint Pain: A Comprehensive Review of Epidemiology, Diagnosis and Treatment. Expert Rev Neurother; 13(1):99-116
Ref 5. DePalma MJ et al. (2011)Etiology of Chronic Low Back Pain in Patients Having Undergone Lumbar Fusion. Pain Medicine; 12:732-739