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Mercedez's Story

Back Story
SI Joint Trauma
iFuse Implant Procedure Date
February 2022, left side; April 2022, right side
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“Without the VA’s (Veteran’s Affair’s) amazing doctors, medical staff, and the phenomenal team at SI-BONE, I would not have my life back!”

I was injured in 2007. At that time, I was active-duty military stationed in Iraq. An IED (improvised explosive device) exploded near me. Thankfully, I was not directly or severely injured. When the blast occurred my body “recoiled”, and it felt as if every muscle in my body contracted. Immediately after the blast, I felt a pinching and a tight sensation in my back and down my legs. I had lower back and upper leg pain that was worse with activity.

I left the military in 2010. I wasn’t as physically active. It became more difficult leaning to one side or the other bearing weight. I was seen at the VA hospital and diagnosed with possible scoliosis, but they were unable to give a definitive diagnosis. They did x-rays, and I was treated with Gabapentin, Flexeril and Tylenol. I remained on these drugs for several years with minimal relief from my pain issues. I was involved in 2 motorcycle accidents in a two-year period. I suffered a concussion and road rash, but not any serious injuries. My back pain continued to worsen. I continued to try and work out at the gym. I was having some sensation loss in my legs and toes at this time.

In 2018, I lost feeling from my belly button to my toes. I was taken to the VA hospital in Salt Lake City for evaluation. They did an x-ray and MRI. The MRI did show some changes at L4-L5. I was told I have the back of a man twice my age. I was given prednisone and increased my dosage of gabapentin. The steroid helped immediately, but eventually wore off. My pain was debilitating. I had to stop working. It was difficult to sit or stand. I was sent for physical therapy and acupuncture. The acupuncturist noted that my pain could possibly be coming from my SI joint. These treatments did help decrease my pain minimally.

I moved to Alaska in 2019 and began to see a chiropractor. He targeted L3-4 and L4-5 on exam. He sent me to pain management for an ESI (epidural steroid injection) into my lumbar spine. This was helpful in relieving my pain, and I subsequently had a lumbar fusion in 2020. This did help with the sensations in my legs, but I was still unable to sit or stand comfortably. I went back to the chiropractor who thought my ongoing pain was being generated from my SI joints. My pain had changed at this point and was grinding, like rubbing two cinder blocks together. I went back to pain management for SI joint injections which helped immediately. I went back to my spine surgeon who did a physical exam that included provocative testing of my SI joints. He told me there was a new procedure he thought I would be a candidate for. I jumped at the opportunity for a procedure that could give me a normal life.

February 2022, I had a left SI joint fusion, and in April 2022, a right SI joint fusion utilizing the iFuse implant system. Recovery was challenging after the first surgery, but nothing in comparison to the pain of SI joint dysfunction. Ice and rest were my friends. I used a walker after both procedures. I am back at the gym, and I can walk and even run without pain. I can go shopping without holding on to the cart for support. I have my life back!

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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