Sacroiliac Joint Injections
Who May Benefit From a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?
The human body has two sacroiliac joints, one on each side of the pelvis, helping to connect the sacrum to each side of the pelvis and to act as shock absorbers. The sacroiliac joints also help shift weight between the upper body and the legs.
Pain in the lower back, buttock, or hip may originate from the sacroiliac joints. In these cases, an injection could help the physician determine whether the source of pain is the sacroiliac joint and also help alleviate pain in that area.
The two types of sacroiliac joint injections are diagnostic and therapeutic. During diagnostic injection, only numbing medicine is injected into the joint. If the pain eases, then the physician is able to conclude that the sacroiliac joint is the source of pain.
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During a therapeutic injection, both numbing and steroid medicine is injected to treat pain originating from the sacroiliac joint and to decrease inflammation.
How to Prepare For The Procedure
The physician will start by reviewing the patient’s medical history. Next, he or she will ensure the patient doesn’t currently have an infection, fever, or any other health problems. Patients diagnosed with diabetes or those taking blood-thinning medication may need additional precautions.
Patients should let their physician know about all their medicines.
They may need to stop taking certain medicines a few days before the procedure. Patients should also tell their physician about any allergies and previous adverse reactions to contrast dyes, past injection procedures, and other medications.
Patients may be instructed to avoid eating or drinking after midnight the night before the procedure. Once at the clinic, patients may be given medicine to help them relax during the injection. For this reason, patients should arrange to have someone drive them home afterward.
What to Expect During The Procedure
A sacroiliac joint injection procedure includes the following steps:
Staff will instruct the patient to lay face down on an X-ray table.
A nurse will administer a sedative and cleanse the treatment area.
The physician will use an anesthetic to numb the skin around the injection area.
The physician will use X-ray guidance to insert the needle tip into the sacroiliac joint. The patient may experience slight pain as the needle enters the joint.
The physician will then inject the X-ray contrast dye to confirm that the needle tip is in the correct location.
The provider will inject the medicine into the joint. The medication may include local anesthetic to alleviate the pain and a steroid to reduce inflammation. The patient may feel a brief stinging or burning sensation when the medicine is injected.
The physician will remove the needle and apply a bandage to the injection site.
Risks of Sacroiliac Joint Injections
The procedure is relatively safe, with few complications. However, potential risks of the procedure include:
Infection at the injection site
Allergic reaction to the medication
Bleeding at the injection site
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