The iFuse procedure has improved my life dramatically! - Kelvin's Story | SI-BONE

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SI Buddy - Kelvin K

Kelvin's Story

Back Story
SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date
May 2019, Left side
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“The iFuse procedure has improved my life dramatically!”


My first experience with low back pain was in March 2012. I was volunteering at a woodworking show and had to move a very large wood sculpture up a flight of stairs. Once the sculpture was moved, I felt a strange sensation in my back that felt like pins and needles. It was odd and persisted for quite some time. The pain was manageable, but I did mention it to my Primary Care Physician (PCP). He felt it would eventually resolve on its own.

On a vacation in June of 2012, I was casually walking up a flight of stairs when suddenly I experienced a sharp pain in the back of my left hamstring. It felt like a “Charlie horse” and I felt like someone had hit me with a baseball bat. I went back to my PCP several times without an explanation for what was causing my pain. It would come and go but was progressively getting worse. Finally, my PCP referred me to an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation. He ordered x-rays and an MRI of my lower back which both showed age-related changes that were basically normal. He told me I should resign myself to “slowing down”. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of a diagnosis.

I started to have weird cramps in my left leg. Walking, sitting, and sleeping were becoming more difficult. I could not maintain any activity for long periods of time. My PCP referred me to a neurologist for evaluation. He ran all types of tests and suspected a neurodegenerative disease. I pointed to the spot where my pain was coming from (the dimple at the top of my left buttock) and told him I thought this was the problem. He didn’t really listen and ordered another MRI of my lumbar spine which showed only minor arthritis. I also began to experience muscle twitches in my leg. I noted these occurred when my back pain was at its worse. I was given the preliminary diagnosis of ALS and was referred to an ALS support group. I was devastated and closed my business and retired.

I did some research on a physician in Japan who specialized in endovascular pain relief. I went to Japan for an evaluation. I thought at this point “What do I have to lose?” I underwent a procedure that did provide good relief from my leg pain and muscle twitches for several months. I told my neurologist I didn’t believe I had ALS and began researching other potential causes of my symptoms. Suffering unbearably was unacceptable. After a year of research, I found a condition called Sacroiliitis that typically presents with symptoms that matched mine.

I decided to consult with a physiatrist. I took all my records, and my most recent scans. He did a thorough physical examination but was still puzzled by my symptoms. I pointed to the area once again, where my pain was coming from. I felt like someone finally was listening. He sent me to an anesthesiologist for evaluation and injections. First, I had a series of epidural steroid injections in my lumbar spine that helped a small amount. One month later I had a therapeutic SI joint injection. It was the first time in years I could sit and enjoy eating a meal. I was in heaven! He performed a second injection which confirmed my diagnosis of SI joint dysfunction.

Few surgeons in Hawaii were familiar with SI joint dysfunction and the iFuse procedure. I was ready to book a consultation in California, when I learned that one of the premier neurosurgeons performing the procedure was relocating to Maui. I set up a consultation and took all my records, scans, and injection results. The surgeon felt confident the iFuse procedure would be beneficial. In May of 2019, I underwent a left SI joint fusion utilizing the iFuse Implant System. Surgery started at 8:00 am, and by 11:30am I was having lunch in the cafeteria. By 5:00 pm, I was back home in Honolulu. After surgery, I was partial weight bearing for 3 weeks utilizing crutches and took Tylenol for pain relief. I made a quick recovery. For the first time in 7 years I have no back or leg pain. I am back to gardening, woodworking and traveling.

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.

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SI Buddy participants are reserved for patients who have been confirmed to be candidates for the iFuse procedure. If you have not been diagnosed by a trained iFuse surgeon and would like to find a physician in your area, click here.

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