Over the years, we have collected the most common questions potential iFuse patients have had about the procedure. If your question isn't answered here, review our SI Joint Q&A or talk with your doctor.
iFuse Treatment Questions
What's the difference between iFuse MIS sacroiliac joint fusion and traditional open sacroiliac joint fusion?
Traditional sacroiliac joint fusion involves open surgery that may take up to a few hours. Open surgery includes a surgical incision to access the joint, removal of cartilaginous material from the joint, and use of bone grafts and screws to help fuse the joint. Patients typically require a several-day hospital stay.
The iFuse procedure is a minimally invasive surgical (MIS) option, meaning that it requires a smaller surgical incision, less time in surgery (about an hour), and potentially a faster healing process. The iFuse procedure may not require an overnight stay at the hospital.
How will my doctor determine whether I am a candidate for the iFuse Implant System?
If you have been diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction and have failed appropriate non-surgical therapies, your surgeon may discuss with you the option of minimally invasive SI joint fusion using the iFuse Implant System. An accurate diagnosis plus a history of trying non-surgical treatments that don't relieve the pain help determine whether you are a candidate.
If I have already had one or more spinal surgeries, am I qualified for iFuse?
iFuse may be used in patients with prior spinal surgery(ies) and existing spinal implants. Your doctor will determine whether your health, including any impact from previous surgeries, impacts your being a candidate for MIS sacroiliac joint fusion.
What is the surgical procedure like for iFuse?
The iFuse procedure is minimally invasive, which means it's performed through a small incision just one to two inches long, on the side of the buttock. You will be lying face down while your surgeon prepares the bone and inserts the triangle-shaped implants, typically three of them, using fluoroscopic imaging to facilitate proper placement.
The surgical technique, implants, and supporting instrumentation are designed to minimize damage to the surrounding soft tissues during the surgical procedure.
iFuse Implant Questions
What are the iFuse Implants made of and how do they work?
The iFuse Implants are small titanium rods about the size of your little finger. Titanium is a very strong but lightweight material, commonly used for medical device implants. The iFuse Implants have a triangular cross section to keep them from rotating once they have been implanted. They have a rough, porous surface to allow fixation to the surrounding bone. The implants provide immediate stabilization of the joint.
Can the iFuse Implant be removed or revised?
Yes, in the unlikely event that the implant needs to be removed or revised, there are special instruments designed to do so. The determination to remove an implant will be based on the treating physician’s best judgement.
Think you might have metal allergies?
The good news is that iFuse is made with titanium, a metal with a long, successful history in soft tissues and bones in humans.
There are two types of testing:
- MELISA metal allergy testing
- Metal-lymphocyte testing
iFuse Recovery Questions
What happens after my iFuse procedure?
Your doctor will most likely recommend using crutches, a cane or a walker for 3 or more weeks after surgery. Your surgeon will schedule a post-operative visit to evaluate the surgical incision, assess your progress after surgery, and advise you on resuming your daily living activities and return to work as your healing and symptoms allow.
Can I talk to people who have had the iFuse procedure?
Yes, the SI Buddy Program is designed to allow people who are considering iFuse to speak with someone who was successfully treated for sacroiliac joint (SIJ) disruption or degenerative sacroiliitis. To speak with an SI Buddy, you must have received a recommendation for the iFuse procedure by a trained surgeon.
What can I do to avoid problems healing after iFuse surgery?
Follow your doctor's post-operative instructions, which may include avoiding strenuous activities in the first six weeks. Follow your surgeon’s post-operative weight bearing and activity recommendations. Avoid smoking, which is thought to impair bone metabolism and fusion. Discuss your current medications with your surgeon; some medications may impair bone growth (for example: steroids). If you have osteoporosis, ask your doctor what osteoporosis medications might be best for your bone health.
If I have an iFuse Implant procedure, does it affect my ability to have other surgeries if I need them?
iFuse Implants are not anticipated to affect the ability to have other surgeries of the spine, hip, or pelvis. However, iFuse implants may interfer with spinal implants placed for pelvic fixation during spinal deformity surgery. this has been established and there are case reports in the literature.
Can I have an MRI after receiving iFuse Implants?
A patient with this device can be scanned safely, immediately after placement under the following conditions:
- Static magnetic field of 1.5-Tesla and 3-Tesla, only
- Maximum spatial gradient magnetic field of 720-Gauss/cm or less
- Maximum MR system reported, whole body averaged specific absorption rate (SAR) of 2-W/kg for 15 minutes of scanning (i.e., per pulse sequence)
- Normal Operating Mode of operation for the MR system
Additional information is available in the Instructions for Use.