SI Joint Fusion Specialist

Hawaii Pain & Spine

Jonathan D. Carlson, MD

Interventional Pain Specialist & Pain Management Physician located in Windward, Kailua, HI

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is the cause of 15-30% of chronic low back pain. Double board-certified pain management physician and interventional pain specialist Jonathan D. Carlson, MD, treats this common problem with SI joint fusion at Hawai’i Pain & Spine in the Windward area of Kailua, Hawai’i. SI joint fusion is one of the newest and best treatments for SI pain. Call the office or book an appointment online today to find out if you’re a candidate for this procedure.

SI Joint Fusion Q & A

What is SI joint fusion?

The sacroiliac (SI) joint connects the lowest part of your spine, called the sacrum, to your pelvis, or iliac bones. SI joint fusion is a minimally invasive procedure that stabilizes this joint in order to relieve pain and restore normal functioning.

Like any other joint, the SI joint can sustain damage from an injury or degenerative condition like arthritis. When this happens, you may feel intense, radiating pain in your buttocks, low back, and legs. SI joint pain can be so debilitating that you have trouble standing and walking.

When would I need SI joint fusion?

Dr. Carlson may recommend SI joint fusion if you have SI joint pain that doesn’t improve with conservative treatments like physical therapy and medications. Additionally, he may administer a joint injection that contains a local anesthetic and a steroid medication.

If the injection provides relief, even temporarily, it confirms the SI joint is the root cause of your pain. In this case, Dr. Carlson may try another nonsurgical intervention like radiofrequency ablation to block pain signals. If your pain continues despite these treatments, you may be a candidate for SI joint fusion.

What does SI joint fusion entail?

SI joint fusion is a minimally invasive surgery that Dr. Carlson performs on an outpatient basis while you’re under general anesthesia. He makes a small incision, less than 2 inches long, above your SI joint. Using real-time X-ray imaging guidance, he places titanium implants across the joint to provide stability.

The procedure takes 45-60 minutes, and you can go home the same day. Afterward, Dr. Carlson provides you with specific instructions on when you can return to work and bear weight on the joint. 

Because SI joint fusion is minimally invasive, it requires a shorter recovery time than open surgery. Most people resume normal activities within a few weeks.

Studies show that 82% of people who get SI joint fusion are satisfied with the results. This procedure can provide rapid and long-lasting pain relief when other treatments have failed. 

To learn more about SI joint fusion and other treatments for SI joint pain, call Hawai’i Pain & Spine or book an appointment online today.