In our previous blog, we gave a list of questions we commonly hear about the SI joint. In this blog, we will go over one of our treatment options for SI joint pain, the iFuse implant system.
How do I know if the iFuse implant system is right for me?
Once it is determined that the source of your pain is the SI joint, you can discuss with your doctor your options. You might be a good candidate if your low-back symptoms are below the L5 vertebra, there are no neurological problems, and if your doctor is able to determine that your pain originates from the SI joint by maneuvering it. Your spine specialist may need to give an injection to confirm the diagnosis by assessing whether or not it relieves your pain.
What is the iFuse implant made out of?
The iFuse implant is made out of titanium rods that are roughly the size of your little finger. Titanium is lightweight but strong and often used for medical device implants.
How does the iFuse implant system work?
The implants feature triangular cross sections which keep them from rotating upon implantation. In addition, they are coated in a titanium plasma spray which adds even more security. The stiffness of the implants helps facilitate the SI joint staying in place.
How is the iFuse system implanted?
The iFuse system is implanted surgically. When you and your doctor decide this is the best course of action, you’ll come into our spine surgery center in Johnstown for your procedure. Under general anesthesia, you will lay face down as your spine surgeon makes a small incision on the side of your buttock. They will then use the system to guide the instruments to prepare the bone and insert the implants. This system is specially designed to protect your tissues during this procedure. X-ray guidance will aid your surgeon in making sure that the implants are placed properly. In general, three implants are necessary.
What happens after the iFuse implant procedure?
After your procedure, you will speak with your spine specialist about the best course of action during your recovery. You may need to use as assistive device to walk, such as a walker, cane, or crutches, for three to six weeks. You should not fly for at least two weeks after your procedure, as this puts you at greater risk of developing blood clots in your legs. You may need to schedule follow up visits with your spine surgeon, generally one or two weeks after surgery. You may then need to come back after 12 weeks for x-rays to make sure that you are healing properly and to gain approval to return back to normal activities.
How can I do to avoid complications after surgery?
Follow your doctor’s recommendations to the letter to reduce your chances of having problems after surgery. Generally, you want to avoid strenuous activities for the first six weeks after surgery. You should also avoid smoking, which can impair bone growth. Some medications will cause problems with bone growth as well, so make sure to talk to your doctor about any prescriptions you currently take.
At ClinTech Center for Spine Health, we are proud to offer the iFuse implant system to individuals with SI joint pain. Contact our spine surgery clinic to learn more about how you may benefit and to schedule a consultation.