What is a Sacroiliac Joint Injection?
The sacroiliac joint is where the ilium (the upper part of the hipbone) and the sacrum (lower part of the spine) meet. This joint helps to provide leverage when you bend, twist, push or pull with the trunk of your body. Sacroiliac joint injections involve the injection of a long acting steroid into the sacroiliac joint to help reduce pain associated with inflammation and swelling of the tissue surrounding the joint.
Sacroiliac joint injections are performed in the office. Patients are required to check in 30 minutes prior to their scheduled appointment time. Once taken back to the preparation area, a small IV catheter will be placed in your hand or arm. This catheter may be used to administer light sedation for the procedure. When taken to the procedure room, you will be placed on your stomach with a pillow under your hips. Blood pressure and oxygen saturation monitors will be applied. The injection site will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution and draped in a sterile manner. Using a small, thin needle, local anesthetic is injected to numb the skin and deep tissue, which may feel like a stinging and/or burning sensation. Assisted by fluoroscopy (X-ray), the physician is able to identify the sacroiliac joint and place a needle into the joint and inject the steroid medication. You may experience a strong pressure sensation with the injection of the steroid medication, which will subside once the injection is completed. The procedure will take approximately 10-20 minutes to complete.
Sacroiliac joint injections may begin to provide relief in 24-48 hours after the injection; however, it may take up to 7-10 days to reach the maximum effect. You may experience “soreness” of the injection site for 1-3 days following your procedure. We advise patients to “take it easy” for the remainder of the day. You may perform activities as tolerated.
Once the procedure is over, you will be taken to a recovery area, where you will be monitored for 15-30 minutes and released to go home. You MUST have someone available to drive you home. Failure to have a driver may result in your procedure being rescheduled. You should be able to return to work the next day.
Sacroiliac joint injections are commonly performed procedures. Because of the low risk and low incidence of any significant problems or side effects, this is felt to be a reasonable procedure to follow when other conservative therapies have failed to produce improvement. Possible side effects may include infection, bleeding, hematoma, pain at the injections site, headache and temporary increase in pain. You may feel lightheaded and/or unsteady; this is usually due to the sedation you were given during the procedure.