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Faye's Story

New Marske, Redcar
Back Story
SI Joint Trauma
iFuse Implant Procedure Date
July 2018, left side
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I recall the day of the accident in 2012. I was 15 years old at the time and on a school ski trip to Austria. I stopped part way down the ski slope and a boy from the same school ran into the back of me. My legs went out from under me, and I landed flat on my back on hard, compacted snow. I was taken off the piste in a sleeping bag on the back of a ski mobile, they put me in an emergency gondola and there was an ambulance waiting at the bottom of the mountain for me. At the time, I thought I had injured my left leg, I had a little bit of pain in my back, but I thought that was just due to the way I’d just landed on it. I was taken to hospital near the resort and my knee and ankle were bandaged up. I didn’t ski again on the trip. I stayed on the trip and travelled with everyone else back to the UK on the bus for the 23-hour journey back home.

After a few weeks, I had started having an aching pain in my back. A constant, dull pain. My mum gave me ibuprofen and paracetamol to start with– but the pain got steadily worse over the next year. I had chosen PE as one of my GCSE subjects. I liked going to the gym, playing football, and competing on the school team for athletics and netball.

I couldn’t do PE at all – I couldn’t do the practical coursework for my GCSE, so I failed it. It was really upsetting, and I started to take stronger painkillers like co-codamol and codeine because I couldn’t sleep. When I was 17, I wanted to learn to drive but I wasn’t able to because of the pain in my back and leg – even just sitting down in the car was really painful. I was having physiotherapy on the NHS, which was agony. I’d had MRI scans every year. The doctors told me I had a slipped disc, but it was more like a disc bulge – so not severe enough for any surgical treatment. I got to the point where I think a lot of people thought the pain was all in my head. I stopped telling anyone about it. All I could think about was when the disc would get bad enough for them to fix it.

At 17, I was at Middlesbrough College studying Health and Social Care and working part-time in a pizza takeaway. Walking was so painful; I could stand no weight on my left leg and I walked on crutches. Not long after I started work in my first full time job at a doctor’s surgery, my left foot went completely cold, like the circulation was cut off. I was taken to hospital where I was given morphine and told there was no change in my back, the disc was slipped, but not enough to warrant surgery. I had a total lack of sensation in my left leg that would come on quite a lot. I used to sit with my legs tucked under me and usually that would wear off or I could usually walk it off, within about half an hour. This time, it didn't go away, and I spent several hours like this until my mum took me to hospital. They didn’t properly look for the cause. I went into A and E – and they took an X-ray of my back. Then they gave me morphine and sent me home.

“Thankfully, the iFuse procedure has allowed me to make a full recovery”

The answer to my problems finally came in 2017 after I had endured a particularly difficult bout of pain and decided to seek help from a new consultant orthopedic surgeon. They decided to have a look at my Sacro-Iliac Joint and treat it with numbing medicine and steroids, to see if that helped. The injection was painful when the doctor first did it – but it did help. After a couple of days, I started to feel better. I finally had movement and my legs moved without me being in pain. It was the first time it hadn’t been painful to move for years. The effect of the injection was supposed to last for three months, but it only lasted about 2 weeks. I had a second injection that took place a few days before my 21st birthday trip to Paris where I spent four days visiting Disneyland and exploring the romantic city on foot, relatively pain–free. But the pain was soon back, worse than ever.

I went back to see my orthopedic surgeon, who was puzzled by the fact the injections had helped – but not for long – and he decided to X-ray my pelvis and back again. When I went to see him for the results, he had some news. He said I’d had a severe sprain which caused on-going dysfunction in my Sacro-Iliac Joint. I couldn’t believe that I finally knew what was causing all that pain. He offered me surgery to fuse and stabilize the SI joint.

In July 2018, I had a left SI joint fusion utilizing the iFuse Implant System. Within a few hours, I was walking and sitting for the first time since my school trip six years earlier without any pain at all. When the nurse came round and said the operation had been a success, I knew it anyway – it felt like some massive burden had been released. I am able to live without excruciating pain, and to sleep for more than a few hours at night, for the first time in over six years. I can even complete 12-hour hospital shifts while constantly on my feet without the slightest discomfort.

The SI Buddy® program is reserved for patients who have been diagnosed by a trained surgeon and recommended for the iFuse procedure. SI Buddy volunteers have been successfully treated with the iFuse Implant System®. Although many patients have benefited from treatment with the iFuse Implant System, patients' results may vary. SI Buddies are not medical professionals and their statements should not be interpreted as medical advice.

The iFuse Implant System® is intended for sacroiliac joint fusion including use in high and low energy fractures of the pelvic ring.

There are potential risks associated with the iFuse Implant System. It may not be appropriate for all patients and all patients may not benefit. For information about the risks, talk to your doctor and visit: Risks page. Rx Only.

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