Bilateral SI Joint Fusion
It’s not often that people have sacroiliac joint (SI joint) dysfunction on both sides, often called bilateral SI joint dysfunction. The pain in the lower back, hip, groin, or leg is usually isolated to one side the other (called unilateral). Bilateral SI joint symptoms have been reported ranging from 8-35%.1
If your doctor determines that both left and right SI joints (called bilateral) are causing you pain and recommends SI joint fusion (after conservative therapies have failed), your doctor may recommend one of these scenarios:
- Minimally invasive SI-joint fusion surgery on one side (typically the more symptomatic side), followed by SI joint fusion on the other side, if still necessary, a couple months later, depending on your recovery time.
- Minimally invasive SI-joint fusion surgery on both sides during the same surgical procedure.
The first scenario -- two separate procedures -- is the more likely recommendation when you have bilateral SI joint pain and diagnosis, simply because it gives you time to recuperate. However, the second scenario is an option, depending on your individual health and circumstances. You should confirm with your surgeon and your insurance carrier whether there is any financial impact to you for receiving one surgery, compared with two separate procedures.
You might wonder if having the SI-joint procedure on one side will help ease the pain on the other side. No clinical studies have addressed this question. There is anecdotal information that sometimes a unilateral procedure will lead to decreased symptoms on the opposite side, but there is also anecdotal information that sometimes unilateral treatment does not improve symptoms on the contralateral side.
Bilateral iFuse Success Stories
In 2009, Catherine began experiencing SI joint pain on both sides. In the summer of 2010, Catherine's bilateral SI joint pain became increasingly worse even though she was receiving regular SI joint injections every three months. After Catherine’s iFuse procedures in 2013 …Read Catherine’s Story