Sacroiliac Joint Fusion: The Rest of the Story

The sacroiliac (SI) joint can be a source of low back, buttock, or leg pain. In this article researchers from Johns Hopkins Medical School review the various causes of SI pain. Their goal is to see what kind of results patients have after fusion for SI joint disorders.

There is only one test that can prove the SI is the source of the pain. The joint is injected with a numbing agent. More than 75 percent reduction of pain in 15 to 45 minutes is a positive test pointing to the SI.

Fusion was done in 20 patients after pain relief was obtained from joint injections. Results of SI fusion were measured using general health, function, pain, and X-ray results.

Results were good for all patients selected. The authors say SI disorders can be treated successfully with fusion. The key is to conduct joint injection tests. Fusion should only be done in patients who have failed other treatment and who have more than one positive joint injection test.


Jacob M. Buchowski, MD, MS, et al. Functional and Radiographic Outcome of Sacroiliac Arthrodesis for the Disorders of the Sacroiliac Joint. In The Spine Journal. September 2005. Vol. 5. No. 5. Pp. 520-528.


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