SI Joint Fusion: A Minimally Invasive Option

Apr 27, 2023
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In this article we will discuss the causes and symptoms of sacroiliitis. When conservative methods have failed, a new minimally invasive SI Joint procedure is available to provide relief!

The sacroiliac joint (SI joint) is located in the lower back and connects the sacrum (lowest part of the spine above the tailbone) to the Ilium (pelvis). This joint is responsible for transferring the weight of the upper body to the lower body and is critical to the stability and mobility of the spine. When the SI joint becomes damaged or dysfunctional, it can cause significant pain and discomfort.


SI Joint Pain Symptoms:

  • Back pain when sitting or lying
  • Dull ache below waist
  • Buttock pain, may radiate to thigh/groin
  • Pain worse when climbing stairs or hills


Causes of SI Joint Dysfunction:

  • Post pregnancy
  • Post lumbar fusion
  • Sacral fractures
  • Arthritis
  • Infection
  • Instability
  • Trauma


Our very own Dr. Matthew McCarty discusses sacroiliitis, SI joint fusion and recovery with Cory Peterson, DPT and CEO of Outcomes Therapy in this video here:   When conservative methods such as physical therapy are not enough, another treatment option for SI joint pain is SI joint fusion.  At Balcones Pain Consultants, our physicians use a posterior oblique approach which is less invasive, more precise, safer and has a shorter recovery period than alternative methods of SI joint fusion.  We recommend physical therapy after your procedure for optimal outcome.


SI joint fusion with a posterior oblique approach is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves fusing the SI joint to stabilize it and relieve pain. This procedure is done on an outpatient basis at our surgery center, usually under deep sedation.  This approach involves making a small incision in the lower back and using X-ray guidance to place two screws through the sacrum and the ilium to fuse them together to stabilize the SI joint. 


The posterior oblique approach has several benefits over traditional SI joint fusion procedures. One of the main advantages is that it requires a smaller incision, resulting in less pain and scarring. Historical approaches required incisions up to 4 inches in circumference.  We perform this minimally invasive procedure through an opening under 1 inch.  Additionally, the procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis, allowing patients to go home the same day and recover in the comfort of their own home.  Patients are also back to normal activities in a much shorter time.


Another advantage of the posterior oblique approach is that it allows for greater accuracy and precision during the procedure. The use of X-ray guidance enables the surgeon to place the screws precisely, reducing the risk of complications and improving the long-term outcome of the procedure.  This approach avoids the gluteal muscles and blood vessels, reducing the risk of blood loss and complications.  We also see a significant reduction in post-operative pain.


SI joint fusion with a posterior oblique approach is an effective treatment option for patients suffering from SI joint pain. It can significantly improve pain and function and help patients return to their daily activities with less discomfort.  Some patients are even able to accomplish goals they hadn’t previously thought possible.  View our Instagram account to see patient testimonials @balconespainconsultants.


At Balcones Pain Consultants, we specialize in minimally invasive surgical procedures like SI joint fusion. Our team of experienced pain management specialists works closely with each patient to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses their unique needs and conditions. If you are suffering from SI joint pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help you find relief.