What Does It Mean to Have a True SI Joint Fusion?

SImmetry® promotes a true sacroiliac (SI) joint fusion providing an opportunity for lasting relief.

Up to 20% of chronic lower back pain is due to SI joint dysfunction1, 2. Many people are searching for real, effective treatment for this debilitating condition, hoping to return to the lifestyle they enjoyed before the pain began.

The Problem with SI Joint Pain

SI joint dysfunction is an often-overlooked cause of lower back pain and leg pain, preventing many people from enjoying everyday activities. Walking up a flight of stairs can be a dreaded challenge. It hurts to sit down. A dull ache persists on one side of the lower back.

The SI joint is a small yet crucial part of the body’s structure, connecting the spine to the pelvis, acting as both shock absorber and pelvis stabilizer. Healthy SI joint function is commonly disrupted by an accident or fall, a pregnancy that shifts and loosens the joint, a previous lumbar fusion surgery, or stress on the joint due to uneven leg length or scoliosis.

Painful symptoms may appear when the there is too much movement (hypermobility) or too little movement (hypomobility) in the SI joint. Nerve endings can become irritated, causing pain in your lower back, pelvis, buttocks, and legs.

Is It Time for SI Joint Fusion?

SI joint pain can be difficult to diagnose, and doctors must conduct tests to eliminate the possibility that another condition is causing painful symptoms. For example, the doctor may apply pressure to painful areas to try to reproduce your pain or administer a diagnostic injection that brings temporary relief to the painful area.

Once diagnosed, some patients find relief with treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation, oral medications, and joint injections.

Non-surgical care does not always alleviate the pain or restore everyday function. In such cases, surgery may be considered as the next step.

SImmetry® Promotes True SI Joint Fusion

The goal of SI joint fusion surgery is to achieve true arthrodesis of the joint, meaning it sets the stage for the body to fully heal and grow solid bone across the joint, providing stability and eliminating the painful motion.

The SImmetry Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Fusion System offers the only minimally invasive SI joint fusion system that follows the three critical steps for achieving a true fusion:

1. Decortication

The bony surfaces where the spine and pelvis meet are prepared to facilitate the body’s natural healing response and bone growth.

2. Bone Grafting

The space between SI joint bones is filled with graft so that solid, natural bone may grow across during the healing process.

3. Fixation

Specially designed hardware is put in place to stabilize the joint while the bone heals.

This process provides an ideal foundation for symptom relief, and SImmetry is the only SI joint fusion system that follows this process to promote a true fusion, leading to lasting results.

The SImmetry SI joint fusion procedure is designed to maintain the integrity of the surrounding muscles and ligaments—the incision is around 2 cm in length and most patients go home in a day or two—so you can recover quickly and finally enjoy all the activities you miss.

SI Joint Fusion Clinical Data

Eliminating movement in the SI joint by using screws, triangular implants, or other devices in the joint has been shown to effectively provide pain relief in many people3. The SImmetry SI Joint Fusion system goes one step further by encouraging true fusion—bridging bone across the joint.4

A recent study of 18 patients at 3 clinical sites showed that after 2 years, 94% of patients had solid or possible bridging bone across the joint. Most importantly, it showed a 73% reduction in average pain scores.4

A second study is currently ongoing. The Evolusion Study is a 250-patient, 40-site prospective study. Early data from the study is promising, with the first 50 patients showing significant pain relief and a 55% reduction in opioid use at 6 months.5

Life After SI Joint Fusion

Four to six weeks after your SI joint fusion, your doctor will perform an examination and determine a timeline for resuming full activity.

Read one patient’s story about undergoing the SImmetry sacroiliac joint fusion system:

Susan Humphrey lived an active life, frequently gardening, motorcycling, and taking long walks with her husband. But chronic lower back pain kept her from fully enjoying the things she loved. For years she tried medications, shots, and therapy. But as time passed, they stopped providing relief. That’s when Susan went to a new doctor, who diagnosed her with SI joint pain, and recommended SImmetry fusion surgery. “It was a pretty quick decision,” Susan said. “You get to a point where you say ‘I’m going to do it, because I can’t go on this way.’” Susan underwent the SImmetry procedure, and 6 months later, her CT scans show a solid fusion. “Now I can do things. I feel it at the end of the day if I do too much. But that’s part of the healing process. I’m doing better! I’m gardening and riding motorcycles again.”

Caution: Federal law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. For SImmetry indications, contraindications, warning and precautions, refer to the product instructions for use.

1 Simopoulos TT et al. (2012) A systematic Evaluation of Prevalence and Diagnostic Accuracy of Sacroiliac Joint Interventions. Pain Physician; 15:E305-E344.

2 Cohen SP et Al. (2013) Sacroiliac Join Pain: A Comprehensive Review of Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Expert Rev Neurother; 13(1)99-116.

3 Heiney et al, A systematic Review of Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Utilizing a Lateral Transarticular Technique. International Journal of Spine Surgery. 2015. 10.1444/2040. 1-16.

4 Cross et al, 24-Month Clinical Evaluation of Radiographic Fusion after Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Surgery. International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery Annual Meeting 2017.

5 Araghi, et al, Pain and Opioid Use Outcomes Following Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac Joint Fusion with Decortication and Bone Grafting: The Evolusion Clinical Trial. The Open Orthopaedics Journal. 2017,11,1440-1448.