Advances in SI Joint Fusion

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

By: Betsy Hansen

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Nothing is more annoying than an aching back, especially when it means your joints are not working properly. One of the most common causes of low back and buttocks pain is caused by the sacroiliac joint. Everyone has two sacroiliac (SI) joints. The joints are located in the back of your pelvis, beneath your low back.


Issues with this joint can arise most commonly after a back fusion surgery, but can also be triggered by a trauma to the joint, or one can simply be born with issues. Intervention is necessary when the SI joint becomes unstable or gets arthritis.


The joint has a very small range of motion yet it’s a major player in movement throughout your day. It helps you bend to the side, twist your abdomen, and even helps bear the weight of your own body.


History of treatment


Historically, not many surgeons would perform an SI joint fusion procedure because of the long list of complications. Now, there is an innovative, new way to perform SI joint fusion surgery, and BayCare Clinic orthopedic surgeon, Robert Limoni, MD, is one of few Wisconsin surgeons who has experience doing this. The new minimally invasive surgical (MIS) SI joint fusion procedure has been around for about two years, and Dr. Limoni performed his first about a year ago.


How does it work?


During the MIS SI joint fusion procedure, Dr. Limoni inserts metal implants through small incisions on the side of the body (instead of going through the belly) for the bone to grow into, locking the two SI joints together.




Certainly, pain alleviation is the main advantage to MIS SI joint fusion surgery.


“One of our patients had some improvements, and the rest have had vast improvements,” said Dr. Limoni.


In addition to achieving pain relieving results, the procedure offers fewer risks because it is minimally invasive. It:

  • Uses smaller incisions
  • Reduces blood loss
  • Decreases operating room time
  • Has no need to do bone grafting
  • Offers less soft tissue stripping
  • Minimizes tendon irritation


When should you get SI joint surgery?


Dr. Limoni recommends those with SI joint pain try chiropractic care and injections before considering surgery.


“Treatment before surgery may work for some. Patients should get at least one or two injections before deciding on surgery to make sure this is the area causing pain,” said Dr. Limoni. “Most patients come to us after six months to a year of other treatments.”


If you are interested in learning more about MIS SI joint surgery, please call BayCare Clinic Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine at (920) 288-5555 or request an appointment online.


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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.