Brenda suffered for six years from severe back pain caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Brenda, together with her team of doctors, underwent the minimally invasive, outpatient Rialto™ SI Fusion System surgery at age 63.

Brenda, a sacroiliac fusion patient

Brenda answers some commonly asked questions about her experience with lower back pain what the Rialto procedure was like for her.

  1. What were your symptoms prior to surgery?
    My symptoms were due to what was diagnosed as “hypermobility” of both SI joints. I had lots of trouble standing or sitting in one place without adjusting my posture or moving about. If I moved suddenly, I would sometimes feel and hear “clunking” in my pelvis. I had nearly constant pain in my lower back, bilaterally, but worse on the left side. I was growing more and more dependent on pain medications in order to live my life. I carried ice bags with me everywhere I went.
  2. What treatment(s) did you try prior to deciding upon surgery?
    I had many rounds of physical therapy, which typically made my symptoms worse. I had injections, which worked for only a few days to a week at a time.I wanted to try treatments that my insurance would not cover. Finally, a physiatrist recommended that I see a physical therapist, who he said had a “great deal of success” with helping patients with the same issues I was experiencing. Forty PT sessions later, I was still unstable, despite the fact that my doctor commented that I demonstrated much greater pelvic strength.
  3. How and why did you decide to have surgery utilizing the RIALTO system?
    I simply did my research. I consulted with surgeons who operated using different technology and/or methods. I utilized YouTube videos and peer reviewed medical papers. I chose the Rialto method and technology because I understood it to be a less-invasive procedure that I believed offered a more manageable, and swifter recovery. The YouTube video I shared with my supportive family and friends was Dr. Carter Beck’s 22-minute video, in which he describes “why and how” he created the RIALTO method. I joined several Facebook groups related to pelvic floor/SI dysfunction to learn everything I could.
  4. Was your surgery done outpatient OR were you admitted to the hospital for aftercare?
    I had outpatient surgery which lasted about 45 minutes. I had bilateral surgery, (that is on BOTH SI joints) done at the same time. I was released from the outpatient recovery room to return to a home setting.
  5. Did you have any immediate or recognizable reduction in acute pain?
    Yes, I experienced an appreciable difference immediately.
  6. Can you tell me about your recovery from surgery?
    I flew home from Montana to Florida less than 48 hours after my surgery. I used ice bags and pain medication for comfort. Once I arrived home, I rested often, but also followed a “walking regimen” as ordered by my surgeon. I continued to use ice bags for comfort and medication prescribed, as needed for about six weeks. I avoided activities that increased my pain. I didn’t drive for about three or four weeks, and then only for very short trips. I never was prescribed a walker or crutches. I avoided anything that increased my pain. The second and third weeks were the most painful for me. After that, everything improved slowly. At three months’ time, I was certain I was going to be great. It took me about a year to recovery completely, and there were a few setbacks, where I had to “back up and take it easy” for a time.
  7. Were you prescribed physical therapy following as part of your recovery process?
    No. I understand that some patients are prescribed physical therapy.
  8. How soon did your life return to “what was your new normal?”
    I would say a full year for myself. I am sure recovery time varies.
  9. Can you do things now that you could not do prior to surgery?
    Yes! I couldn’t sit on the floor with my grandchildren prior. I couldn’t stand in one place for more than a minute prior. I could not walk on the beach prior. Prior to surgery I had to go to bed for days at a time to rest.
  10. Based on your recovery, would you have this surgery again?
  11. Do you have any advice?
    Yes! “Baby that butt” and be patient during your recovery. Listen to your body.