Attend our National Patient Webinar on July 31 at 4pm PDT / 7pm EDT!  More Information

Find a Buddy

SI Buddy Carolyn Brunner

Carolyn's Story

Back Story
SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date
November 2020, right side
Connect with Carolyn

"My SI fusion gave me the opportunity to return to a life filled with new adventures, goals, and possibilities."


I had worked in over 99 countries before I retired in 2014. I had fallen off a camel in Egypt, been a passenger on a motor bike in Thailand, and bounced around in the back of a jeep on several African safaris. I don’t recall having any lasting pain after these adventure type activities. Maybe it was cumulative, and I eventually paid the price of having SI joint dysfunction.

In January 2020, we took a trip to Disney World and a cruise with our children and grandchildren. We probably walked 5 miles a day. When we returned, I felt a sudden sharp pain in my right buttock that went down the back of both thighs. It was a burning nerve pain. I didn’t go to my doctor because of Covid-19 and thought that it was just sciatica. I could barely walk ½ mile at this point. I thought that increasing my daily walking would help, but it only made my pain worse.

In June 2020, I finally went to see my primary care physician. He thought I most likely had a disc issue and sent me for an MRI and to pain management. They sent me to physical therapy, which helped a small amount and I would occasionally take Tylenol and ibuprofen for pain control. I had a cervical fusion several years ago by a neurosurgeon I really liked. I decided to consult with him about my buttock and leg pain in July 2020. My lumbar MRI showed some mild stenosis, but nothing significant. He did a physical exam which included provocative testing and thought my pain was most likely coming from my SI joint. He sent me for an SI joint injection. It was wonderful! My pain was gone for about a month. I returned for a second injection, but this one did not give me much relief. He suggested I see his partner to discuss an SI joint fusion.

In October 2020, I saw his partner and we decided I would be a good candidate for the iFuse procedure. I had a right SI joint fusion in November 2020. I couldn’t believe how good I felt when I woke up from surgery. My nerve pain and my buttock pain were gone. My post-surgical pain was distinctly different than my previous pain. It was the first surgery of the day and was up walking by early afternoon. I used a walker for 4 weeks, then was released to physical therapy where we worked on strength and balance.

Now I am back to walking daily and continue my strength training. I had to cancel two trips to Africa because of my SI joint dysfunction, but just recently returned from a trip to Barbados pain free!

The SI Buddy® program is reserved for patients who have been diagnosed by a trained surgeon and recommended for the iFuse procedure. SI Buddy volunteers have been successfully treated with the iFuse Implant System®. Although many patients have benefited from treatment with the iFuse Implant System, patients' results may vary. They are not medical professionals and their statements should not be interpreted as medical advice.

The iFuse Implant System® is intended for sacroiliac fusion for conditions including sacroiliac joint dysfunction that is a direct result of sacroiliac joint disruption and degenerative sacroiliitis. This includes conditions whose symptoms began during pregnancy or in the peripartum period and have persisted postpartum for more than 6 months. The iFuse Implant System is also intended for sacroiliac fusion to augment immobilization and stabilization of the sacroiliac joint in skeletally mature patients undergoing sacropelvic fixation as a part of a lumbar or thoracolumbar fusion. In addition, the iFuse Implant System is intended for sacroiliac fusion in acute, non-acute, and non-traumatic fractures involving the sacroiliac joint.

There are potential risks associated with the iFuse Implant System. It may not be appropriate for all patients and all patients may not benefit. For information about the risks, talk to your doctor and visit: Rx Only.

Connect with this Buddy

* Required fields

Contact Information

Looking for Answers?

We can help. Tell us what you're looking for below.