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SI Buddy Wendy Gray_photo

Wendy's Story

Back Story
SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date
May 2019, Right side
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"Living and loving life again after my iFuse procedure"


In 2013 I was training to run my first half marathon. After a 5-mile training run, I was walking home and started to experience severe spasms in my lower back. I sat in the first chair I could find when I got home because the pain was so severe. This occurred on a Thursday. By Saturday I was in so much pain I was unable to get up to use the bathroom. My husband insisted I go to the ER. I had an x-ray and was sent home with narcotic pain medication, muscle relaxants and a referral to see a neurosurgeon.

I did consult with the neurosurgeon who ordered an MRI. Based on my physical exam and the MRI results, he recommended an L5-S1 lumbar fusion to relieve my pain. My husband was ill at the time and I had to postpone my lumbar fusion surgery. I was referred to pain management. I wore a back brace, used a tens unit, had physical therapy, and modified my activity. My lower back pain was now sharp and intense. I spent many days in bed dealing with my pain.

In January 2014 I had an L5-S1 lumbar fusion. The first 3 months I was feeling “ok”. At 6 months my pain had improved but was not resolved. An MRI revealed limited bone growth and I was prescribed a bone growth stimulator that I wore for 6 additional months. My pain was different at this point. I was experiencing pain lower down in my buttock area. I now had pain with sitting and walking. I was unable to sleep. It was affecting my balance. I could no longer pick up my grandbabies or play with them on the floor. At this point my neurosurgeon suspected something else was causing my pain.

I was sent back to pain management for an SI joint injection. I felt great after the first injection! It was a week of pure bliss. I did 4 more injections over the next 2 years. The injections became less effective over time. I was then referred to a surgeon for an open SI joint fusion. My insurance company denied the procedure. I gave up at this point. This was my life and I was going to have to learn to live with it. I no longer could sit in the car to travel. We had to sell our multi-level home so I wouldn’t have to climb so many stairs. I spent most days in bed. I suffered mentally as well as physically.

In 2019, my neurosurgeon referred me to a surgeon in Provo, Utah to see if I was a candidate for the iFuse procedure. He agreed I would be an excellent candidate for the procedure. In May 2019, I had a right SI joint fusion utilizing the iFuse implant system. The surgery went well and my recovery was uneventful. My SI joint pain was gone following surgery. I can now pick up my grandkids, walk the dogs, and sit through the movies and church. I have been on a family camping trip, traveled to New York City and Oregon all pain free. My debilitating pain in no longer there.

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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