Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac (SI) Fusion

Sacroiliac Fusion is a surgical procedure which fuses the iliac bone (pelvis) to the spine (sacrum). It is performed for a variety of conditions including trauma (with fracture), infection, cancer, or spinal instability.

What to Expect Before SI Fusion Surgery

Once you have decided to have surgery, the following events take place:

  • A medical examination.
  • Chest X-ray, EKG and blood work.
  • You may be asked to have a neurological or psychological examination.
  • If taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications daily, stop these medications at least one week before the SI fusion surgery.
  • If you take prescription medications or other drugs, including herbals, ask your doctor how soon you should stop taking these before the lumbar fusion surgery.
  • Do not have anything to eat or drink for 6 to 8 hours before surgery.
  • You will check into the hospital the morning of surgery.
  • Prior to the SI fusion surgery, you will be asked to sign permits for surgery, anesthesia, blood and blood products.

What to Expect During the SI Fusion Surgery

  • An incision is made in the low back area.
  • Fluoroscopy (live X-ray) is used to determine the correct level(s) to be operated.
  • Bone graft is placed along both sides of the back part of the spine.
  • Screws may be placed in the vertebrae above and below the level to be fused.
  • The screws are connected with rods.
  • Surgery takes approximately 1-3 hours.

What to Expect After the SI Fusion Surgery

  • You will be in the recovery room from 1 to 1½ hours.
  • The surgeon will contact your family while you are in recovery.
  • After going to a hospital room, you will be able to use a PCA pump to get medication for pain control. This machine controls the amount of medication that can be received.
  • Staff will usually get you out of bed the same day as the surgery.
  • The hospital stay is usually 1-3 days.
  • A brace or corset is prescribed to restrict bending and promote healing of the fused area.
  • You will be given any needed prescriptions and discharge instructions.
  • A set of exercises that you can do at home will be provided.
  • You will be able to ride in a car or plane upon leaving the hospital.
  • It is important to avoid twisting and bending backward.
  • Physical therapy is usually initiated after the first office visit with your doctor following surgery.