LinQ™ – Sacroiliac Joint Fusion System
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Low back pain may be due to a medical condition involving one or both sacroiliac joints, like degenerative sacroiliitis. Sometimes, non-surgical treatments fail to deliver relief from chronic pain, making even simple activities difficult to manage. In many cases, the LinQ system may be an option as a minimally invasive procedure that restores joint stabilization for the purpose of alleviating chronic pain.
What is LinQ?
At the lower end of the spine is found the sacrum. The sacrum is a large triangular-shaped vertebra that is actually five segments fused together. The strong vertebra performs several duties:
- Supports the weight of the upper body
- Serves as a distribution point for nerves, including the sciatic nerve
- Serves as a connecting point for the sacroiliac joints in the hips
The sacroiliac joint connects the spine (sacrum) to the wing-like hip bone (ilium). There are two joints, one on each side of the sacrum. The sacroiliac joints also have several duties:
- Provide support for the upper body
- Provide stability to the hip area
- Absorb the impact of certain movements, like walking or lifting
Like the other joints in the body, the SI joints can deteriorate from normal aging, disease, injury, or consistently uneven movement in the pelvis on one side. Cartilage deteriorates, ligaments get stiff or too loose and arthritis develops, along with inflammation.
As the joint deteriorates, pain can develop in the lower back and upper hip and may radiate into the groin, lower hip area, and upper thigh. Certain movements become difficult because of the instability in the SI joint. It may be difficult to rise out of the chair or to sleep on the affected hip.
LinQ is a minimally invasive SI fusion procedure that promotes the growth of bone over the sacroiliac joint to create an immobile joint construction. The purpose is to restore some stability to the joint and hip, reduce inflammation caused during joint movement, and reduce or alleviate pain.
Understanding the SI Joint Fusion Procedure
The SI joint fusion procedure steps are so minimally invasive most patients can go home the same day. The procedure involves first making a small incision in the buttock. Using a special surgical instrument, a single LinQ allograft is placed in the joint to connect the sacrum (spine) to the iliac bone.
Over time, the bones will fuse together, providing more joint stability and ending the pain caused by inflammation due to poor joint functioning. The procedure only takes approximately an hour.
Benefits of the LinQ Procedure
The SI fusion procedure provides a number of benefits. They include:
- Sacroiliac joint stabilization
- Reduction in or alleviation of low back and pelvic pain
- Improved movement when walking, standing, climbing stairs or rising from or lowering into a chair
- Minimally invasive
- Faster healing time in many cases, compared to SI fusions that use multiple metal implants
- Does not involve large blood vessels or major nerves
- No metal implants
- Faster recovery time than conventional sacroiliac fusions
- High success rate for qualified patients
- Offers pain relief when other treatments have failed
- Able to resume normal activities sooner than possible with the conventional SI fusion
There are few side effects of the LinQ SI joint fusion. There may be mild pain while the small incision heals. The bone needs time to grow too, so some activities are limited for at least a couple of weeks. Any invasive surgery has the chance of developing an infection, but this is quite rare. Since no metal is used, there is no chance of a physical reaction to metal.
After the Surgery
The high success rate of the SI joint fusion gives people living with back pain a new lease on life. However, it is important to learn prevention techniques to avoid recurrence. They include learning to properly lift items, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight, to name a few. Follow your doctor’s advice, and you are very likely to finally live without low back pain.
Possible Conditions Eligible for the LinQ SI Joint Fusion
There are a number of spinal conditions the LinQ System may help. They include: