Can You Have SI Joint Fusion on Both Sides at the Same Time? | SI-BONE

Can You Have SI Joint Fusion on Both Sides at the Same Time?

Bilateral SI Joint Fusion

It’s not often that people have sacroiliac joint (SI joint) dysfunction on both sides, often called bilateral SI joint dysfunction. The pain in the lower back, hip, groin, or leg is usually isolated to one side or the other (called unilateral). 

If your doctor determines that both left and right SI joints (called bilateral) are causing you pain and recommends SI joint fusion (after conservative therapies have failed), your doctor may recommend one of these scenarios:

  1. Minimally invasive SI joint fusion surgery on one side (typically the more symptomatic side), followed by SI joint fusion on the other side, if still necessary, a couple months later, depending on your recovery time.
  2. Minimally invasive SI joint fusion surgery on both sides during the same surgical procedure.

The first scenario -- two separate procedures -- is the more likely recommendation when you have bilateral SI joint pain and diagnosis, simply because it gives you time to recuperate. However, the second scenario is an option, depending on your individual health and circumstances. You should confirm with your surgeon and your insurance carrier whether there is any financial impact to you for receiving one surgery, compared with two separate procedures.

You might wonder if having the SI joint procedure on one side will help ease the pain on the other side. No clinical studies have addressed this question. There is anecdotal information that sometimes a unilateral procedure will lead to decreased symptoms on the opposite side, but there is also anecdotal information that sometimes unilateral treatment does not improve symptoms on the contralateral side.

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