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Minimally invasive joint surgery helping patients heal from debilitating pain

ifuse.PNG
Minimally invasive joint surgery helping patients heal from debilitating pain

Low back pain can stop you in your tracks and it can be caused by a joint issue at the base of the spine.

Debra Foster is literally jumping for joy. Her cause for celebration is a small, titanium-coated triangle that has stabilized her SI joint and freed her from debilitating back pain.

"The pain was atrocious," Foster said. "The pain was atrocious. If there's a worse word than that I don't know it."

Neurosurgeon Juan Ronderos of Sacred Heart Hospital explains the SI is the joint where the spine connects to the hip.

It normally doesn't move, but when ligaments get loose and the joint becomes unstable it can cause severe pain in the hip and back.

For Debra that meant taking opioids, like morphine and oxycodone.

"The medication that it took to make me comfortable was insane," she explained.

In the past, Dr. Ronderos said surgery was not an option for most patients.

"The fix was bigger than the problem. In other words, it was more dangerous, more painful and harder to do," Dr. Ronderos said.

A procedure called iFuse changed all that.

Minimally invasive surgery allows the small rods to be placed into the joint, then the bone actually grows into the tiny openings and helps stabilize the SI.

Debra said relief was immediate.

"I'm crying, I'm thinking about it and they're tears of joy," she said.

The surgery isn't for everyone, but it's an option you can ask your doctor about.

Debra's now free to move wherever she likes without a cane or walker.