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SI Buddy Neil Schulman - photo 2

Neil's Story

Back Story
SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date
July 2020 right side, September 2020 left side
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"Over two years of pain in my buttocks and back. now pain free after having the si joint fusion on both sides.  I'm back to a full life and playing softball."


I started to notice pain in my right hip in 2018. It was a sharp stabbing pain; it was like someone was stabbing me with a knife. I was afraid I would need a hip replacement. I went to see an orthopedic surgeon who took x-rays and said my hip looked good, but that I might have bursitis. He suggested a cortisone injection into the bursa which I agreed to. The injection gave me a small amount of relief for a few days. The pain continued to increase and was now in my buttock and down the front of my right thigh. I went back in for a second cortisone injection which provided no relief from my pain. The pain was now in my back and I could not stand for more that 15-20 minutes without having to sit down to rest. I had to stop playing softball and gave up bowling. I couldn’t even perform normal household chores like doing dishes.

My wife suggested I see her chiropractor. I went to see him twice a week for four months. I received manipulations and laser treatments to my back. This gave me minimal relief from my pain. The only pain medication I could take was Tylenol due to my kidney disease. I was now having pain on both the right and left sides and was unable to stand for more than 5-10 minutes. It felt like I had sandbags strapped to my hips. Finally, my chiropractor recommended I see a pain management physician. She ordered an MRI of my lumbar spine and said I had some arthritis but nothing significant. I pointed to where my pain was, and she did a physical examination. She believed my pain was most likely coming from my SI joints. She did an SI joint injection on the right side first, and then on the left one week later. I had 60% relief from my pain for about a month. She did prescribe me an opioid narcotic pain medication, but I opted not to take it. I then had a radio frequency ablation on the right side and two weeks later on the left. While the right side provided a small amount of pain relief, the left side flared up and the pain was excruciating. She felt I would benefit from an SI joint fusion at this point. She provided me with a list of iFuse trained surgeons in my area and suggested I set up a consultation. Luckily, my orthopedic surgeon was on the list.

I set up an appointment and took all my medical records. The surgeon did a physical exam which was very painful and determined I might benefit from an SI joint fusion. He wanted to do the right side first. I wanted to have both sides done at the same time, but he preferred to do them one at a time several months apart. He noted that some of his patient’s pain went away on the opposite side once the initial side was fused.

July 2020, I had a right SI joint fusion utilizing the iFuse Implant System. My pain relief was gradual. I used a walker for a month and had in-home physical therapy. At my 6-week post-operative checkup, my surgeon said everything looked great and I could “do whatever my body tells me I can do”. My pain had resolved completely on the right side, but I still had pain on the left. September 2020, I had my left SI joint fusion. My recovery was very similar to my first surgery. As my pain resolved I increased my activity. I am back doing my domestic chores and playing softball!

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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