The sacroiliac joint steroid injection procedure is performed to address the infection, inflammation and injury, among other dysfunctions, of the joint that cause pain in the affected individuals. The sacroiliac joints are located next to the spine with their main functions being to connect the hip on both sides.
What Is It?
Actually, a sacroiliac joint injection is used for two purposes, namely, diagnostic and therapeutic. Your doctor will decide whether to perform separate injections for the two purposes or just combine the two purposes into a single injection.
In a diagnostic joint injection, the sacroiliac joint is injected with a local anesthetic using fluoroscopy guidance technology for precision purposes. The contrast dye is then injected to ensure that, indeed, the needle was placed in the precise spot and that the medication has spread. You will then be asked to re-create your pain levels via normal activities to validate an initial sacroiliac joint dysfunction diagnosis.
In a therapeutic sacroiliac joint steroid injection, the same procedure applies but with a difference. The anti-inflammatory medication, usually corticosteroid, is included in the injection solution so that you will experience pain relief.
When you experience prolonged pain relief after the procedure, you will undergo a physical therapy and rehabilitation program. The goal is to further lessen the duration, frequency and intensity of the pain so that you can return to your normal activity levels. The injection may be repeated up to three times in a year depending on your response, physical condition and pain levels, among other factors.
Who Should Consider It?
Your doctor will recommend the sacroiliac joint steroid injection procedure when you have been suffering from pain in your lower back, buttocks or lower leg. Said pain should have been experienced despite weeks, even months, of extensive conservative pain management measures including medications, physical therapy and lifestyle changes.
How Is It Done?
The injection is administered as an outpatient procedure since it only takes a few minutes to administer the solution. The typical process can be summarized as follows:
- You will lie face down on your stomach on the x-ray table. You may request for a small pillow placed under your hips for comfort. Your vital signs will be monitored throughout the duration of the procedure.
- You may be hooked up to an intravenous line with medication to help you relax.
- Your doctor will sterilize the skin over the sacroiliac joint steroid injection site. He will administer a local anesthetic followed by a contrast dye before inserting the injection needle with the use of fluoroscopy technology.
- Your doctor will then inject the solution containing the anti-inflammatory medication.
What Should Be Done After It?
The entire procedure takes just a few minutes but you will be required to stay in the clinic for 30 minutes for observation. Serious complications are rare but you may experience minor allergic reactions as well as leg weakness or numbness but these will resolve with proper home care measures.
In the case of therapeutic sacroiliac joint steroid injection, you should observe positive responses. This means that you should have at least 75% improvement in your pain symptoms and the procedure is deemed a success.