What is the relationship between lumbar spine disease and SIJ disease?
SI joint fusion is done many times after a lumbar fusion. In fact, at least one-third of the patients who I have performed SI joint fusion on have had prior lumbar fusion surgery. It can make an SI joint fusion surgery a little more technically challenging but with some experience still very safe and effective.
One common question is if spinal fusion causes SIJ disease: I have seen many patients with musculoskeletal issues caused by environment, genetics, activities etc. These causes will oftentimes trigger one symptom or problem and consequently, cause another problem at the same or later time. However, I would not say that lumbar fusion directly causes SI joint dysfunction. In truth, there is not enough information to be able to draw that kind of conclusion., I look at the disease state as happening concurrently, or at the same time. This goes back to a person’s genetics, environment or the kind of activities they participate in, simply because the same “make-up” that may cause one problem will most likely cause another. For example, a tennis player may have pain in one of their knees. It is plausible they will have a problem with the elbow as well – these are concurrently occurring diseases based on same overall conditions
What conditions would prevent a SIJ Fusion?
As far as other, pre-existing surgeries excluding someone from SI joint fusion, I would say this is rare. There are certain factors like tumors, severe osteoporosis or bone masses that can form in or near the joint that would interfere with surgery. But I feel this is a rare situation for the majority of people who are a candidate for SI joint fusion.