SI Joint Fusion

Richard A. Kube, MD, CEO, founder and owner of Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, is the first surgeon in the world to perform a Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac Joint (SI Joint) Fusion. He recently presented his six-month results from the initial eight patients to hundreds of spine surgeons at the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery’s annual conference. The results demonstrated significant SI joint relief for all 8 patients and most of the surgeries were completed at Dr. Kube’s surgical facility, Prairie SurgiCare, in Peoria, Illinois.
Dr. Kube decided to pursue the innovative procedure after one of his patients was still experiencing pain after all traditional methods failed.

“One in four patients with lower back pain have SI Joint dysfunction, so I see the condition frequently and was interested in finding a solution that didn’t require invasive surgery,” said Dr. Kube.

The sacroiliac joint is between the pelvis and the spine, making it the link between the pelvis and the lowest part of the spine above the tailbone. This joint transfers weight and forces between your upper body and legs. Sacroiliac joint fusion is a surgical procedure in which the joint is fixed to its intended position and weight bearing function. This is accomplished by preparing the joint surface for a fusion using a bone graft to accomplish the fusion and stabilizing the joint with two titanium screws while fusion heals.

He first attempted the minimally invasive approach to SI Joint fusion in May, 2011. Since then well over 100 patients from across the state have sought out Dr. Kube to have the procedure. Many of the surgeries were performed at Prairie SurgiCare in Peoria.

“I worked on cadavers attempting the procedure for months before ever attempting it on a patient and I felt confident the procedure would work,” said Dr. Kube. “Someone had to take the leap and perform it first, so I did.”

The eight patients in Dr. Kube’s case study have all experienced improvement in SI Joint pain and some have complete relief already.

“If current pain scores and fusion rates continue to trend, this technique will demonstrate excellent efficacy and thereby provide patients with a true long term and cost-effective solution for SI joint dysfunction,” said Dr. Kube.

By creating this minimally invasive technique to what used to be only an open surgery, invasive procedure, patients spend little to no time in the hospital. They often leave the day of the surgery with two small incisions and require no overnight stay.

“This not only helps people return to work and their lives more quickly, it makes it more affordable for everyone,” said Dr. Kube. “With this procedure we have literally put several patients back to work and given them their lives back—without the severe pain they were experiencing.”