Sacroiliac joint fusion is a treatment approach to lower back and pelvis pain. The sacrum and the ilium naturally form a joint — and this fusion procedure joins the two together. If conservative treatment methods such as medications, exercises, and injections don’t help the back pain, surgical treatments in the form of a sacroiliac joint fusion may help.

Innovations in sacroiliac joint fusion have meant doctors can perform the surgery using a minimally invasive approach. Keep reading to learn about how and for who a sacroiliac joint fusion can help.

Benefits of a sacroiliac joint fusion

Researchers estimate 15 to 30 percent of all lower back pain experiences are due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. This is likely because the sacroiliac joint is responsible for helping you bend and also withstands pressure while doing so, transferring force and pressure from your lower back to your legs.

Unfortunately, the sacroiliac joint is vulnerable to stress and injury that can lead to pain. The goal of this surgery is to reinforce this joint and reduce this pain.

In addition to pain relief, other benefitsTrusted Source of a sacroiliac joint fusion include:

  • better quality of life
  • enhanced daily function
  • reduced disability

Sacroiliac joint fusion procedure

Open Approach

Although there are different techniquesTrusted Source, an open surgical procedure involves:

  • A person goes to sleep under general anesthesia, where they’re asleep and unaware the surgery is taking place.
  • The surgeon makes an incision in the lower back to expose the sacroiliac joint.
  • A surgeon removes a block of bone to access the sacrum’s cartilage-covered surface.
  • The surgeon removes the cartilage that’s over the sacrum.
  • A surgeon replaces the block of bone and uses plates and screws to fix the bone in place to stabilize the joint.

Surgeons may also optTrusted Source to perform sacroiliac joint fusion as a minimally invasive surgery. Advancements in equipment have meant the surgery doesn’t have to require a large incision or prolonged recovery times.

Minimally invasive approach

The steps for a minimally invasive sacroiliac joint fusion are similar and may includeTrusted Source:

  • The patient
  • goes to sleep under general anesthesia, where they’re asleep and unaware the procedure is taking place.
  • A surgeon makes a small, 3- to 5-centimeterTrusted Source incision on the side of the buttock.
  • The surgeon dissects (cuts) through gluteal muscles to access the ilium, or upper portion of the pelvis.
  • A surgeon uses a special guide pin to access the ilium and drill so implants can be passed toward the sacrum.
  • A surgeon guides the instruments for implantation through the passage created in the ilium. The surgeon secures the implants using screws and pins.
  • The surgeon irrigates (uses saline to clean) the surgical site to ensure there are no extra bits of bone or tissue. They then close the wound using sutures.


Source: Healthline