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Sacroiliac Joint Injection

What does “Sacroiliac Joint Injection” mean?

Here is the meaning of each word:

  1. Sacroiliac: the joint between the tailbone (sacrum) and iliac part of the pelvis
  2. Injection: placing a medication into the joint

Altogether, “Sacroiliac Joint Injection” means placing medication into the joint between the tailbone and pelvis.

Why is a Sacroiliac Joint Injection done?

Sacroiliac joint injections are done for two reasons:

  1. To diagnose if a patient’s pain is coming from this joint
  2. To help with pain from inflammation of this joint

What is the difference between a Sacroiliac Joint Injection, a Sacroiliac Joint Radiofrequency Rhizotomy and a Sacroiliac Joint Fusion?

1. A Sacroiliac Joint Injection is initially done to diagnose if the patient’s pain is coming from the Sacroiliac Joint. If it is very helpful for a significant period of time, this injection can be repeated.

2.. A Sacroiliac Joint Radiofrequency Rhizotomy tries to disrupt the small nerves traveling to the Sacroiliac Joint using targeted heat energy. This procedure is often done if Sacroiliac Joint Injections are not helping for long period of time. This procedure is a minimally invasive procedure done with needles.

3. A Sacroiliac Joint Fusion is done when neither Sacroiliac Joint Injections or Sacroiliac Joint Radiofrequency Rhizotomies give a patient longer lasting pain relief. This procedure is an actual surgery including an incision and a period of recovery from the surgery.

How is a Sacroiliac Joint Injection done?

Here are the steps of how this injection is performed:

  1. Patients sometime receive relaxing medication through an intravenous catheter (IV).
  2. The procedure is done in a Procedure Room or Operating Room
  3. The patient is placed on the stomach (prone)
  4. The low back area is cleaned with a sterile antiseptic solution and sterile sheets (drapes) are placed around the site.
  5. An X-Ray machine is used to find the Sacroiliac Joint.
  6. The skin is anesthetized with local anesthetic.
  7. A small specialized needle (spinal needle) is placed into the joint.
  8. Sometimes a small amount of contrast dye (fluid which looks dark on an X-Ray) is injected into the joint to verify that the needle is placed in the joint.
  9. A number of different medications can now be injected into the joint. They are often steroid anti-inflammatories and local anesthetics.
  10. Some doctors intentionally inject an inflammatory medication into the joint. This is called “Prolotherapy”. The thought is that this inflammation will attract our natural healing cells to the joint and eventually heal the joint naturally.
  11. A sterile band-aid is placed.
  12. The patient is turned on the back and taken to the Recovery Area.

How long does it take to perform a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?

It may take about 5-10 minutes to complete this injection for each joint.

What kind of benefit can patients gain from a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?

Pain relief from spinal injections can vary. The pain from an inflamed Sacroiliac Joint can be relieved. The pain relief can last from weeks to months.