Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Fusion Reviews

People who have had ongoing low back pain, an SI joint dysfunction diagnosis, and the iFuse procedure share their own personal journeys.

These iFuse patients share their stories of how sacroiliac joint pain affected their lives and their experience with the iFuse Implant System. There are potential risks associated with the iFuse Implant System. It may not be appropriate for all patients and not all patients may benefit. See more information about the risks.

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Taryn's Story

“SI-BONE gave me my life back. I’m dancing again, pain free!”

Location: North Carolina
Back Story: SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: February, 2017 Bilateral

Read Taryn's Story

Background: I first started to notice mild low back and bilateral hip pain in 2009. It wasn’t overly bothersome, so most days I could just ignore it. In 2013 my pain started to change. It felt like a sharp stabbing and burning sensation in my low back and hips. I was working full-time as an interior design assistant and was finding it difficult to perform my work duties. I went to my primary care physician who referred me to a spine specialist. After a physical exam and x-rays, it was determined I had degenerative disc disease and I was sent for epidural steroid injections (ESI), physical therapy, and aqua therapy. The ESI did provide some pain relief for several months, but overall these therapies were not beneficial. It was becoming difficult to stand and I had to use a cart to lean on when doing my grocery shopping. I could no longer do housework because pushing a vacuum cleaner or sweeping the floor was too painful. I returned to the spine specialist and he ordered an MRI of my lumbar spine. The diagnosis came back as mild spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. I was prescribed a back brace and another round of epidural steroid injections. The back brace was useless, and I had minimal pain relief from the injections.

I decided it was time to get a second opinion. My neighbor referred me to a group of surgeons with whom she had had a good experience. I had an appointment with the physician’s assistant who reviewed my records and performed a physical exam which included provocative testing of the sacroiliac (SI) joints. He felt that my pain could be coming from my SI joints and he sent me for bilateral diagnostic SI joint injections. “The injections relieved 90% of my pain!” Based on my response, the surgeon suggested a bilateral SI joint fusion utilizing the iFuse Implant System.® In early 2015, we submitted for procedure approval to my insurance company and this was denied. With the help of my surgeon’s office and the SI-BONE reimbursement support team, we began the insurance appeals process. We submitted my first appeal and it was denied again with the reason stating, “this was an unnecessary surgery for my condition.” The health plan requested another MRI. I had the MRI, submitted the results, my surgeon had a peer-to-peer review with my insurance carrier and the procedure was denied for the 3rd time. This time they said they still needed more information and requested a CT scan. All these tests resulted in additional out-of-pocket costs that I had to pay, but I was not going to give up. “I had been fighting my insurance provider for 2 years.” I wrote a letter describing how my SI joint pain was affecting my quality of life, submitted the CT scan results, and my surgeon contacted my insurance company directly. Finally, they approved the procedure! “I was in shock when it got authorized.”

Cara's Story

“The iFuse procedure opened a door that has allowed me to enjoy my life once again.”

Location: Texas
Back Story: Pregnancy Related
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: July, 2012 Left Side

Read Cara's Story

Background: Cara gave birth to the first of her three children in 2000. During labor she experienced complications that she feels caused her debilitating lower back, pelvis and left leg pain. After Cara was discharged from the hospital her left leg became numb and she had increased pain in her buttocks and hip. Cara’s general practitioner ordered an MRI but the images did not reveal why she was experiencing so much pain. Later that day her GP ordered a lumbar steroid injection which provided no pain relief. Cara was sent home with medication and a physical therapy referral. As the weeks went on, Cara avoided any activity that could aggravate her pain. “As the months passed, I carefully learned how to plan my day. For example, I avoided grocery shopping if it was a laundry day to ensure not to overdo it. This method didn’t always work however and some days the pain was so overwhelming, all I could do was lay down and wait for it to pass.” For twelve years Cara endured pain while trying to participate as much as possible in her young children’s lives. Cara’s sister convinced her to make an appointment to see a well-known doctor at the local spine center. The doctor recognized that Cara may be experiencing prominent sacroiliac joint disruption symptoms and introduced her to another surgeon in his practice who had experience treating the SI joint. That introduction changed Cara’s life. After further examination, Cara was diagnosed with SI Joint disruption and was recommended for the iFuse Implant System.

Sharron's Story

“The pain robbed me of almost everything I loved to do. Today I feel great and I have regained my mobility and independence.”

Location: California
Back Story: Prior Lumbar Fusion
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: January, 2013 Bilateral

Read Sharron's Story

Background: Sharon had improvement of her leg pain following her lumbar fusion surgery. Later, she noticed increased pain in the lower back, right buttocks and tailbone areas. The pain was worsened with sitting and standing and the only place she was moderately comfortable was lying in bed.

Update: In January 2013, Sharron received a bilateral SI joint arthrodesis using the iFuse Implant System. The day after her surgery she was feeling significantly better. The incision sites were sore, but she felt stable and best of all, the SI joint pain was gone.

Richard's Story

“I can’t imaging what my life would have been like today if it were not for the iFuse procedure. I am very grateful.”

Location: Tennessee
Back Story: SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: September 2011(Right Side), November 2011(Left Side)

Read Richard's Story

Background: There was no single event that triggered Richard’s SI joint pain, but he believes that his years of waterskiing contributed to his degenerative sacroiliitis. In 1996, Richard first felt a sharp pain in his upper buttocks that would flare up every now and then. The flare ups typically lasted a day or two and would go away. But the pain began to return more frequently and with more intensity. Richard was under the care of a physical therapist for several years, but it wasn’t until 2000 that Richard received his first SI joint injection. For the next 11 years, Richard continued with conservative treatments, consisting of SI joint injections and physical therapy. Richard learned about the iFuse Implant System® while watching the local news one evening and investigated further.

Update: In September 2011, Richard had his first iFuse Implant procedure, which was performed on his right SI joint. Two weeks after his surgery, his pain level had decreased significantly and he was feeling better and stronger as each day passed. By the end of the sixth week, Richard and his doctor scheduled the iFuse procedure on the left side. The results of the second surgery were equally as successful. Today Richard has returned to work and continues to be a strong contributor to his team and is depended on heavily. “I can’t imaging what my life would have been like today if it were not for the iFuse procedure. I am very grateful.”

James's Story

“My family recognizes that I smile more.”

Location: Unavailable
Back Story: SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: Unavailable

Read James's Story

Background: After 10 years of suffering with lower back symptoms, Dr. James Mamary was diagnosed with degenerative sacroiliitis. As a pulmonologist, Dr. Mamary often spends 8 to 10 hours in the bronchoscopy suite on his feet in a lead apron. “All things that made the condition worse,” according to Dr. Mamary.

His personal life also suffered as he had to decrease activities with family and friends. Every activity was a calculation of how much he would have to pay for it later.

Update: After trying multiple therapies to relieve his symptoms, Dr. Mamary’s surgeon recommended the iFuse Implant System®. This minimally invasive procedure is designed to provide stabilization and fusion to the SI joint.

Deborah's Story

“It was just a whole new world that opened up for me.”

Location: Unavailable
Back Story: SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: Unavailable

Read Deborah's Story

“It was absolutely depressing because if you hurt all the time, it’s a cycle. You hurt; you sit; you don’t do things; you don’t get out. I was limited in my ability to stand for periods. I was limited in my ability to walk. I was limited in my ability to lift. It was difficult to do my job. It was difficult to play with my grandchildren. Stair climbing was almost impossible.”

“I met with my doctor following my injection, which showed that the source of my pain was the SI joint, he explained the procedure, which would be an implanting of these implants in my SI joint. The procedure went very well. I was up and out of bed that same day, into physical therapy. I have no awareness of having the implants in my back at all. I gardened all summer, and it was no problem for me.”

Ray's Story

“I suffered with back pain for 30 years before I got help.”

Location: Unavailable
Back Story: SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: Unavailable

Read Ray's Story

“I went to my doctor with persistent low back problems several years after undergoing hip replacement surgery. I was spending many hours in physical therapy without experiencing any relief.”

“Due to the severity of the symptoms, my physician recommended sacroiliac (SI) joint fusion after he diagnosed it using CT guided injection, which provided temporary relief. Within three months following the surgery, I experienced significant relief and was able to resume my normal daily activities. In the subsequent months, I continued to improve, and at one year, the iFuse has returned me to a normal lifestyle.”

Sheri's Story

“I had quality of life again.”

Location: Missouri
Back Story: SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: February 2012 & March 2013

Read Sheri's Story

Background: Sheri was treated with physical therapy and lumbar injections for six years. Everything changed for her in February 2012 when her pain physician learned of the iFuse Implant System® as an option for sacroiliac joint disruption and degenerative sacroiliitis.

Update: A year after her left SI joint was treated with the iFuse, Sheri’s surgeon recommended the iFuse procedure for her right SI joint. In March 2013, Sheri followed her doctor’s advice and underwent the iFuse procedure on her right SI joint. She had a routine recovery and began feeling the benefits almost immediately. Today, Sheri no longer requires cortisone injections and continues to exercise on her own. She is back to dancing, gardening, and enjoying all of the things she loves to do with her family.

Ananda's Story

“I have returned to hiking with my girlfriends, sitting through long performances, and cooking again for my friends.”

Location: California
Back Story: Prior Lumbar Fusion
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: October 2012, right side | June 2013, left side

Read Ananda's Story

Background: Ananda was born with spondylolisthesis, a condition that allowed one of her lumbar vertebra to slip forward on top of the vertebra below. Her condition was discovered by her chiropractor after ordering an x-ray of her spine. When she was 13 years old, Ananda underwent an L4-S1 fusion, and after recovering, she resumed her active teenage life. It wasn’t until several years later at age 38 that she began experiencing debilitating SI joint pain. The SI joint pain came on so suddenly, she had to withdraw from college classes because she could no longer climb stairs, walk moderate distances, or sit for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Update: Ananda had surgery on her right SI joint in October 2012, and on her left SI joint in June of 2013. After her first iFuse procedure, she used a walker for about three weeks and then used canes to help her move about for two more weeks. She applied ice to her surgical site to reduce the pain and swelling post operatively. Within three months Ananda was walking unassisted and feeling better. After the second iFuse surgery, she underwent physical therapy for three months and still continues to complete the exercises on her own today. Ananda has returned to her active self and is looking forward to becoming a nutritional chef.

Leigh's Story

“I had the iFuse procedure five years ago, and I’m feeling great.”

Location: Vermont
Back Story: SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: September 2008, right side

Read Leigh's Story

Background: Leigh suffered with SI joint pain for eleven years before undergoing the iFuse procedure. She first learned about the iFuse from a surgeon who worked in the hospital where Leigh was employed as an x-ray technologist. Leigh attempted to treat her right SI joint pain with physical therapy and massage. Shortly thereafter, Leigh set up an appointment for an evaluation with the surgeon performing the iFuse procedure. The surgeon first referred Leigh to a pain doctor where she received a diagnostic SI joint injection for which she felt immediate pain relief lasting two weeks. After the SI joint injection wore off, Leigh felt her right SI joint pain return with greater intensity. The intensified pain convinced her to move forward with the iFuse procedure.

Update: Leigh underwent the iFuse procedure in September of 2008. Soon after her surgery she felt the deep SI joint pain slowly dissipate, and within three months, Leigh had returned to her work at the hospital resuming her normal duties. She had soreness from the incision site for some time and reported that she started feeling back to normal a year after surgery. Looking back over the last five and a half years, Leigh feels incredibly grateful that she knew about the iFuse procedure and that she no longer lives her life with SI joint pain.

Larry V's Story

“I am just so grateful that I no longer experience that terrible pain.”

Location: Illinois
Back Story: SI Joint Degeneration
iFuse Implant Procedure Date: June 2012, left side

Read Larry V's Story

Background: Larry was a manager of his family owned appliance and service business since 1968. He also helped with delivery, installation, and service repairs. In 1990, while delivering an air conditioning unit, he began feeling extreme pain in his lower back, groin, and down his left leg. The pain immediately prevented him from bending at the waist, twisting at the torso, and sitting upright. In the years that followed his injury, he underwent several lumbar surgeries and many conservative therapy treatments. Outside of the SI joint injections, nothing else relieved his SI joint pain for more than a couple of days.

Doctors performing i-Fuse procedures

KeithGirton, MD

7000 Spyglass Court, Suite #310, Melbourne, FL 32940
distance-locations-pin769.7 miles
Pain Management
James St. Louis, DO - Laser Spine Surgeon

JamesSt. Louis, DO

4726 N. Habana Suite 204, Tampa, FL 33614
distance-locations-pin816.67 miles
Laser Spine Procedures
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon

You do not have to live with pain

Whether it is sciatica, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, or any other spine condition that is causing you pain, we have the answers to your problems. Our physicians are trained to diagnose, manage, and treat a wide range of spinal conditions.

Our focus has been and will continue to be providing individualized care designed to address your personal needs. It is never acceptable to live with pain. Pain robs your life of joy and robs your life of meaning. Nothing is more important at Physician Partners of America than helping you get back to a pain-free life.

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