Up to 85% of all people have lower back pain at some point in their life. This ranks right behind the common cold as the second leading reason for physician visits. Despite all of the attention, the source of this pain is often overlooked. Fifteen to 25 percent of lower back pain can be attributed to the sacroiliac (SI) joint, which connects the pelvic bone to the spine. Repetitive motion, injury from accidents and falling, and even pregnancy, may cause damage to this joint.
Issues with the SI joint are sometimes treated with physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments or medical injections, but these options are only temporary and must be repeated for ongoing relief.
Sacroiliac (SI) Fusion surgery may be an option for patients seeking long-term solutions.
First performed in West Michigan in summer 2012 by Jürgen Lüders, MD, neurosurgeon at the Saint Mary’s Hauenstein Neuroscience Center, sacroiliac joint fusion surgery has already helped more than half a dozen people in the area.
Jürgen Lüders, MD
Neurosurgery, Spine, Epilepsy
Chief of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgeon
Through a single two-inch incision, Lüders inserts two to three titanium implants to connect the spine and pelvic bone, minimizing soft tissue damage as compared to an open surgery. The surgery lasts about an hour, and patients typically go home from the hospital the next day. After surgery, the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center physical therapy team works with patients to get them to bear full weight by six weeks, which is faster than average for patients who receive this surgery. Within a few months, SI Fusion surgical patients experience a return to normal activity.
Is SI Fusion Surgery an option for you? The diagnosing procedure is an X-ray of a pain-relieving injection to the SI joint; if you experience significant pain relief from it, this will verify SI joint pain. Symptoms of SI joint pain are trouble sleeping, knees giving way, or acute pain when bending or moving in certain directions.
Talk to your doctor about these symptoms, or contact the Hauenstein Neuroscience Center at 616-685-5446.
Click here to read a story about SI Joint Fusion Surgery in West Michigan Woman Magazine.