Winter 2015
Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Could Be The Source Of Mystery Back Pain
Minimally Invasive SI Joint Fusion Relieves Back And Leg Pain
When a patient experiences excruciating lower back and leg pain, it is often related to a herniated or degenerated disc. But what if X-rays and scans do not reveal the source of pain? All too often these patients are told their only option for relief is pain medication or pain management therapies. For some of these patients, the answer may be a difficult-to-diagnose but treatable condition known as sacroiliac (SI) joint disease. Randy Kritzer, MD, of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, now offers minimally invasive SI joint fusion in Greensboro to provide relief for this condition.

Diagnosing A Hidden Disorder
The multiple components of the Tricor© Sacroiliac Fusion System allow for implantation through a small incision, leading to a quicker recovery.
SI joint disease is caused by the abnormal movement of the sacroiliac joints, which are located at the bottom of the spine and connect the sacrum to the pelvis. Pain results when these joints move too much.

SI joint disease is often the result of pregnancy, or of car accidents, falls or other high-impact accidents. Many patients who have undergone lumbar fusion surgery later develop SI joint disease. The diagnosis of SI joint disease can be challenging because its symptoms mimic those of other common conditions such as disc herniation,
radiculopathy and facet syndrome. Standard diagnostic tests are not capable of detecting this condition. If a patient is experiencing low back or leg pain and the source of pain is not detected on an MRI or X-ray, SI joint disease should be considered.

While a physical examination can be helpful, a diagnostic pain injection into the SI joint is the gold standard for diagnosing SI joint disease. This requires exact placement of the needle into the correct area of the SI joint, and is usually performed through X-ray guidance. If this injection relieves the patient’s pain, it is inferred that the SI joint is the source of the pain.

Treatment Of SI Joint Disease
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the course of treatment is determined based on the severity of the patient’s pain. Initially, conservative therapies such as ice and heat, medications (ibuprofen or acetaminophen), physical therapy, or injections can be effective in providing relief. If these options prove unsuccessful, a minimally invasive surgical approach is usually recommended.

Lasting Relief With A Smaller Incision
Randy Kritzer, MD, now performs minimally invasive SI joint fusions in Greensboro. The procedure is also offered in Charlotte by Daniel Oberer, MD.

Randy Kritzer, MD
“This procedure can be truly life-changing for patients who thought they had no answer for their pain,” said Dr. Kritzer. “Most have been misdiagnosed in the past. Even when SI joint disease was diagnosed, treatment options were limited. Now we offer a minimally invasive, effective procedure that has patients back to normal activities in about two weeks.”

Dr. Kritzer utilizes the Tricor® Sacroiliac Fusion System to stabilize the SI joint and prevent the abnormal movement that is causing a patient’s pain. During the procedure, a small, 1 ½ inch incision is made in a gluteal muscle. With a lateral approach and X-ray guidance, implants are inserted into the SI joint. This minimally invasive approach leads to faster recovery time than the traditional open SI fusion surgery.

For the first two weeks after surgery, patients gradually increase their weight bearing until they can stand and walk normally. Full recovery may take six to 12 weeks. Patients usually report reduced pain as soon as two weeks after surgery.

To learn more about SI joint fusion or contact Dr. Kritzer, call 336-272-4578.

CAUTION: Federal (USA) law restricts these devices to sale by or on the order of a physician. Please see the product Instructions for Use for a complete listing of the indications, contraindications, warnings and precautions and adverse effects.
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