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Recovery from IFuse

Hi all, For those of you who don't know me, I am a 41 y/o female who had my right SI joint fused Jan 3, 2013 after over 16 years of nearly constant pain. The last few years I had pain that never stopped and was always above 5 at the minimum. I learned afterwards that I have transitional anatomy meaning that one of my vertebra are missing. I woke up completely pain free in my SI joint, although I had surgical pain. Unfortunately I also developed nerve damage which led to RSD in 2 toes and the outside of my foot. That pain had finally cleared up this summer, but recently as I return to full activity (backpacking, rescue work, etc), I have developed severe muscle spasms and return of some of the sciatic like leg pain. It's closer to radiculopathy of the l5-s1 nerves, so they feel that the third implant might be causing the problem, although imaging shows everything in the proper places. So I will be having EMG's and other fun tests to try and determine what's really going on since my anatomy is not normal. At this point they can't decide which nerves run where. I have to say that although I occasionally feel a bit of "pull" on the SI joint when I bend too far the wrong way, I have never had any more pain in the joint. Even though the nerve pain and RSD has been excruciating at times, I can honestly say that it's been worth it. I never had a minute that I was free of pain before. At 40 years old, I was considering getting an electric wheelchair to get me around outside of my home. I know I still have more uphill battles ahead of me, I still feel that I will get there and that gives me hope. On the personal side of things...Things have been very bad here including losing my husbands best friend to brain cancer, losing my girlfriend to pneumonia (at 26), struggling to keep our farm, and my oldest son moving in with his dad among other things. There have been some wonderful things too... My husband received his pain pump October 10, and his pain is at a 2 to 4 without even adjusting the rate yet or turning on the button to give an extra dose as needed. He was at a 7-8 most days frequently going to a 10. I got a motorcycle for my birthday (Oct 16) as a hope of good things to come when I can learn to ride in the spring. We got a grant for wildlife research next year. So all in all, we are trying to keep our heads above water. Of course getting a full time job would really help pay some of these medical bills! If anyone knows of anyone hiring a chemist/environmental scientist or wildlife biologist in WV give me a call (Just joking...probably will need surgery again before I can even think about it). Good luck to everyone!


  • My accident was caused through a motor bike accident. If you have had surgery just one fall could put you back into excruciating pain especially if you have never ridden before. I know you still have to live your life - but a motorbike accident could either kill you or worse still, put you back in excruciating pain forever. I didn't listen either and did my own thing.

    Please think twice about the bike especially if you have't ridden before, Make sure no matter how hot it is to wear protective clothing, gloves, leathers and a full face helmet will stop a lot of brain damage.

    At least learn how to fall off properly, you need to totally relax your body and go floppy when you come off a bike, never ever try to save yourself which is the normal reaction - just ry and relax everything in your whole body and resist the temptation to save yourself as tensed impact is what causes the most damage.
  • janiskijjaniski Posts: 679
    edited 10/25/2013 - 3:03 PM
    I had both SI joints fused and like you I had immediate pain relief. The first one I had a lot of nerve pain with and apparently it happens to about 30% of patients. L4 and L5 nerve roots are very near the SI joint. The insertion of the titanium pin can irritate the nerve roots if the surgeon is enthusiastic with the pounding. My 2nd one I had no problems as he was more gentle.

    Will you be having the other side fused also? I had to have both done as once the first side (which was hyper mobile) was fused the other side (which was hyper rigid) started moving and causing pain. I still have some recovery to do but am so glad I had the SI's fused.

    Good luck.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Hello to anyone who has had I-fuse. My doctor recently recommended I-fuse surgery for me, as I had two successful diagnostic SI joint injections which relieved the pain. However, I am now learning that my doctor's office is not wanting to do any more I-fuse surgeries because they say that while the insurance companies will precertify the procedure, some are then denying payment after the surgery has been performed. My doctor's office did send my paperwork to the insurance company, and my iinsurance just precertified the procedure on Friday, but now my doc office is saying the surgery is a no-go because of all the hassles of this procedure getting reimbursed. They said it is a widespread problem, so I'm wondering how people are going about getting the surgery and am eagar to learn how others may have successfully gotten it through their insurance companies so that I might have some chance of doing the same. Does anyone have any advice for me? Have you heard this same story? I am so confused right now because I would like to be out of pain, and it is awful when a doctor tells you you need surgery but he won't do it because he doesn't want to NOT get paid from your insurance company. I just don't know what to do. Anyone's advice would be appreciated.

  • I had my right SI jointIfusion done about 11/2 years ago. We were riding on a motorcycle and got hit head on by a woman talking on her phone, not paying attention to wwherecshecwas on the road. When I hit the pavement, I landed on m side and damaged theSIJoint. After years of excruciating pain, I had the Ifuse. My life has mostly returned to normal. I can rides bicycle, walk, him, drive, etc. I do have a major problem when riding my horses. I get very severe leg pain because now that the joint is fused, sitting on my horses torques the SI joint too much. I refuse to give up my horses. Looking a nerve root surgery. Any advice?

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