Sacroiliac Joint Steroid Injection

The sacroiliac joints lie next to the spine and connect the sacrum with the hip on both sides. There are two sacroiliac joints, one on the right and one on the left. Joint inflammation and/or dysfunction in this area can cause pain.

The purpose of a sacroiliac joint injection is two-fold: to diagnose the source of a patient's pain, and to provide therapeutic pain relief. The steroid medication can reduce swelling and inflammation in the joint.

How is the procedure performed?

The patient lies face down. A cushion is placed under the stomach for comfort and to arch the back. The physician uses touch and a fluoroscope to find the sacroiliac joint. A local anesthetic numbs the skin and all the tissue down to the surface of the sacroiliac joint. The physician advances a needle through the anesthetized track and into the sacroiliac joint. A steroid-anesthetics mix is injected into the sacroiliac joint, bathing the painful area in medication. The needle is removed and a small bandage is used to cover the tiny surface wound.

What are the risks?

The most common side effect is temporary pain at the injection site. Uncommon risks include bleeding, infection or worsening of symptoms.

Will the injection hurt?

The skin and deeper tissues are numbed with a local anesthetic. Some people experience discomfort or pain. Some patients receive sedation that can make it easier to tolerate.

How will I feel after the injection?

After the procedure, you may feel sudden relief or that your pain has substantially decreased. This will normally last for a few hours or until the local anesthetic wears off. You should notice relief in pain between 3-5 days after the injection.

What daily restrictions will I have?

You should have a ride to and from your appointment because the injection could cause some temporary weakness in the legs if the medication spreads to the sciatic nerve in front of the joint. All patients receiving sedation must have a ride home. We advise patient to rest and take it easy for the first day or two following the procedure. Return to normal activities when you can tolerate them.

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