For people diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction, which can cause one or both of the SI joints to become painful, the doctor may initially consider non-surgical treatments, such as medicines, physical therapy, or steroid injections.
If those non-surgical treatments do not deliver relief, the patient should ask their doctor about minimally invasive SI joint fusion.
Southern California Hip Institute (SCHI), led by board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tigran Garabekyan, provides orthopedic surgery as well as non-surgical treatments to patients in Los Angeles, Century City, CA, and surrounding locations.
Before considering surgery, patients who receive an SI joint pain diagnosis have a few pain relief options to try. These include:
- Physical Therapy
- Pain Medication
- Therapeutic SI Joint Injections
- RF Denervation
The doctor and insurer will likely insist on conservative treatments prior to discussing surgical options. The patient should make sure to keep good records of all the conservative treatments that they try in the event that they need to apply for insurance approval.
SI Joint Surgery
There are two types of SI joint fusion surgery, namely, traditional “open” surgery and minimally invasive surgery (MIS).
In case conservative treatments are not effective, the patient should ask their doctor about surgical options for SI joint pain relief. If the doctor establishes the patient as a candidate for SI joint fusion, the patient should reach out to their insurance provider to understand the appropriate steps to take to ensure coverage.
MIS SI Joint Fusion: iFuse
iFuse is the ONLY minimally invasive surgical treatment option available to patients for SI joint fusion that is clinically proven effective by various high-level clinical trials for specific reasons for the development of SI joint dysfunction. The iFuse Implant system is used in a surgical procedure, which is undertaken in an operating room using either general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia.
This procedure is undertaken entirely through a tiny incision (around 3 cm long), along the side of the buttock. In this procedure, fluoroscopic guidance provides the surgeon with live imaging for proper implant placement. In general, three implants are placed, depending on the patient’s size.
The doctor will most likely recommend the use of crutches, a walker, or cane for three or more weeks following the surgery. The surgeon will schedule a post-op appointment to assess the surgical incision and to evaluate the patient’s progress after surgery.
Traditional or “Open” SI Joint Surgery
In “Open” surgery, the surgeon places a longer incision, and the procedure involves screws, bone grafts, a significantly longer hospital stay and an extended recovery period. The pain relief is several degrees lower than MIS, according to patients at 12 months after the surgery. In general, open surgery is not recommended anymore by doctors for SI joint fusion.
Non-Surgical SI Joint Treatment Options
The doctor may prescribe opioids, NSAIDs, or other drugs for SI joint pain relief. Pain drugs may help treat the symptoms of this condition. However, they cannot treat the underlying physical damage.
Physical therapy comprises a physical assessment and a customized treatment plan. The treatment may vary in length on the basis of the patient’s needs and typically continues until the deficits are addressed, and they have attained pain-free function again.
Therapeutic SI Joint Injections
A common non-surgical treatment option involves the injection of steroids into the joint to reduce the swelling and pain. Steroids are strong anti-inflammatory meds. These injections are typically a temporary solution, offering relief for a few days or weeks.
Board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tigran Garabekyan receives patients from Los Angeles, Century City, CA, and nearby areas for orthopedic surgery and other procedures.
Dr. Tigran Garabekyan is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip preservation. To learn more about Southern California Hip Institute or to schedule a consultation, click here to contact us or call:
Century City / Los Angeles: 310.595.1030
Serving patients in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Century City, West Hollywood, North Hollywood Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale and other neighboring cities in the greater Los Angeles, California area.
Also visit http://www.drgorthopedics.com/