Minimally Invasive Surgery Option for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Paul Saiz, MD, is the only fellowship-trained spine and tumor surgeon in New Mexico. As the owner of Las Cruces Orthopedic Associates in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Dr. Paul Saiz is a highly respected orthopedic spine surgeon, having earned many faculty nominations and recognition for his articles on topics pertaining to back and neck conditions, such as sacroiliac (SI) joint pain.

Responsible for transforming weight back and forth from the legs to the lower back, the sacroiliac (SI) joint has often been overlooked due to the fact that, for many years, there was a lack of information on how the SI joint can cause pain. Presently, the SI joint is recognized as as a potential pain generator in regards to lower back pain. For chronic pain originating in the SI joint, surgery is a valid treatment option. Today’s minimally invasive surgery treats the lumber spine and SI joint with a combination of technology and tissue sparing techniques, reducing recovery time to outpatient surgery or 1-2 days as an inpatient. However, not all insurance plans will pay for these surgeries to be done as an outpatient. In addition, how healthy patients are can determine whether a procedure can be done as an inpatient or outpatient.

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What Is Trabecular Metal?

An accomplished spinal surgeon, Paul Saiz, MD, has served as a speaker and faculty member at numerous seminars, conferences, and continuing education courses. Dr. Paul Saiz has taught several such courses on the spinal use of trabecular metal.

Designed for use in orthopedic and dental implants, trabecular metal approximates the properties of bone. Its 80 percent porous construction allows for surrounding bone to grow into the structure with as much as three times more effectiveness than traditional implant coatings. The compound further supports the growing in of natural bone (in-growth); in that its pores are consistently sized and fully interconnected. Studies have demonstrated that this construction allows for better filling in of available pores compared to other materials.

Also constructed to be stable in daily use, the compound features nanotextured construction with a high friction coefficient. This encourages a stronger initial fit as well as continuing tightness. After four weeks, study subjects showed a bone interface strength approximately double that of sinter-bonded bead implants. This is further enhanced by the compound’s low elastic modulus, which gives the material the same stiffness as bone (making it more bone friendly). Chemically and biologically stable as well, it stands out as a safe and more effective alternative to traditional implant substances.

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Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Currently caring for patients at Las Cruces Orthopedic Associates in New Mexico, Paul Saiz, MD, is the only board-certified spine surgeon in the state. At his facility, Paul Saiz, MD, analyzes low back pain including the sacroiliac joint; to develop a plan to treat patients’ complaints and to see if he can offer options (surgery and non surgery)to alleviate their discomfort.

Located where the spine and pelvis meet, the sacroiliac joint can produce pain in the back and legs due to a variety of factors, which include stress from movement, infection, trauma, pregnancy, and stress fractures. Some estimates claim that up to 25 percent of all chronic lower back pain can be linked to the sacroiliac joint. To discover whether the sacroiliac joint is responsible for pain, doctors will administer a physical exam and determine what tests to use; which include x-rays, CT scans, and nerve blocks.

Once a diagnosis is made, doctors can provide several forms of treatment for this condition. Traditionally, doctors prescribe physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and stabilization belts. Some modern technology, however, has led to additional options. For example, a new and minimally invasive procedure can be performed that fuses and immobilizes the joint. This allows for quicker recovery with fewer post-surgery issues.

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Paul Saiz MD on the Sources of Leg and Back Pain

An experienced orthopedic spine surgeon, Paul Saiz, MD, recently wrote about the sources of leg and back pain. In his article, Dr. Paul Saiz noted that the lumbar spine is the most common source of lower back and leg pain. However, other body parts potentially cause leg and back pain and do not receive as much attention as the lumbar spine. This is chronicled on his blog at

According to Dr. Saiz, the sacroiliac joint in the human body has to tolerate forces up to three times the person’s body weight. Medical professionals once thought this joint was one of the main sources of back pain. In fact, orthopedic textbooks from the 1950s focused more on the issues caused by the sacroiliac joint and less on lumbar problems. Fortunately, the sacroiliac joint is once again earning the attention of orthopedic surgeons as they focus on solving the causes of back and leg pain. New and less invasive treatments are now common, thanks to the advancement of technology. More than 25,000 patients have already received these treatments which involve a minimally invasive technique to fuse the SI joint..

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The ABSS Promotes the Specialty of Spine Surgery

An experienced spinal surgeon based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Paul Saiz, MD, has owned and operated Las Cruces Orthopedic Associates since 2007. A member of several professional organizations, Dr. Paul Saiz was recently elected a diplomate of the American Board of Spine Surgery (ABSS), the only surgeon in New Mexico to date.

Incorporated as an independent organization in 1997, the ABSS works to improve the specialty of spine surgery by facilitating a dialogue between spinal surgeons and establishing the graduate and post-graduate educational requirements for professionals. In doing so, the ABSS serves the interests of both the medical community and the general public by ensuring that the special needs associated with spine surgery are addressed.

ABSS certification is open to all qualified surgeons who are experienced in spine surgery. In order to begin the certification process, candidates must first be certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons or the American Board of Neurological Surgeons. Board certified Orthopedic Surgeons or Neurosurgeons then must pass an additional written and oral examination to be granted an ABSS certification that recognizes their commitment to the highest quality of care. Surgeons must re-certify every 10 years by demonstrating continued medical education and passing an examination.

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Spinal Fusion Surgery – Imperfect, But Often Necessary

Paul Saiz, MD, owns Las Cruces Orthopedic Associates in New Mexico. In addition to his roles as board member and treasurer for the medical practice, Paul Saiz, MD, treats patients as a surgeon specializing in spinal operations and fusion procedures.

Spinal fusion procedures are complex and are often undertaken to treat spinal imbalance and instability, painful discs, infections, or even tumors. Essentially, two vertebrae are fused in this procedure with carefully placed screws, cages, or plates of bone-like material. With time, the bones grow together and help to stabilize the patient’s spine. Although often the only option to provide patients with relief from chronic pain, fusion surgery has also been met with criticism.

Spinal surgeons and other spine specialists more frequently encounter back surgery patients who have experienced negative results than those who have enjoyed a positive outcome. Typically, patients who do well do not follow up. Fusion surgery is a poor option for some, especially those who do not have a concrete diagnosis on the source and cause of their pain. However, many documented cases show fusion surgery improving activity levels and helping with pain. Any type of spinal surgery should be considered very carefully before action is taken.

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Dr. Paul Saiz – Tantalum and Its Use in Medical Care

Based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Paul Saiz, MD, serves as the owner of Las Cruces Orthopedic Associates and treats patients as an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon. At his facility, Dr. Paul Saiz utilizes the benefits of tantalum and uses it in his procedures.

Although considered rare, tantalum is the 50th most common element in the Earth’s crust. Mostly found in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Australia, this gray-blue metal has found use in modern electronic devices. Most cell phones contain approximately 40 milligrams of tantalum, and more than 2.5 million kilograms of the mateial are used annually.

Recently, doctors have begun to recognize the benefits involved with using tantalum in medical care. Due to its ductility, durability, and flexibility; tantalum possesses unique features that make it advantageous for spine surgery, permanent bone implants, and cranial defect repairs. The porous quality of tantalum creates an environment that allows for bone growth and attachment. A 50-micrometer layer of metal can provide rigidity to implants. Moreover, tantalum does not interfere with MRI once implanted and will not set off the alarm at the airport.

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Treatment of Pinched Nerves and Painful Movement of the Spine

Paul Saiz, MD, is a spine surgeon based in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Dr. Saiz describes spine surgery options to his patients in one of two ways. Either he will “unpinch what is pinched” or “stop moving parts that hurt from moving.” These problems are those to which Paul Saiz, MD attributes most spine issues, outside of tumor or trauma cases.

images (4)In order to fix what is commonly called a pinched nerve, surgeons must remove anatomy to clear space around the surrounding nerves to remove the “pinch,” either in a laminectomy (the complete removal of the posterior bony canal) or a laminotomy ( the partial removal of the bony canal). On the other hand, to address “painful moving parts,” surgeons perform a procedure called “fusion.” Fusion involves new bone growth in areas that have no bone, in order to create permanent immobilization. Thus, no pain can be created because there is no motion. New bone takes months to grow, so screws and rods are used to aid in the fusion; similarly to how a cast helps a broken bone heal.

Procedures that alter the spine certainly have drawbacks, ranging from premature wear and tear at other non-operated areas of the spine to permanent loss of range of motion. In most cases, doctors only discuss spine surgery with patients after conservative treatment such as physical therapy, injections, medications, and activity modification have failed.

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What Is Fellowship Training for Physicians?

Paul Saiz, MD, is the only fellowship-trained and board-certified spine surgeon in New Mexico. Dr. Saiz completed two surgical fellowships (Reconstructive Spine Surgery and Musculoskeletal Oncology) after finishing his Orthopedic Surgery residency. Paul Saiz, MD, focuses on performing Orthopedic Spine Surgery and treating spine tumors and multiple diseases of the spine.

A post residency fellowship typically provides fully trained Orthopedic Surgeons with a living stipend while they complete specialized training on a focal aspect of Orthopedics. This allows them to become more experienced and see multiple patients with findings rarely seen in a normal practice i.e bone tumors.

Prior to applying for a fellowship, a physician must complete medical school and an approved residency (orthopedic surgery). An orthopedic residency lasts five years. Orthopedic surgeons can then choose whether to go into practice or pursue a fellowship. The primary purpose of a fellowship in orthopedic surgery is to gain practical experience in a subspecialty of orthopedic medicine, such as sports medicine, spine, or foot and ankle.

Many fellowship programs are quite competitive. Admission depends on past academic and professional experience, and completion of a fellowship can boost future career opportunities. In addition to hands-on training, fellows receive mentorship from experienced professionals in their field and network with other specialists.

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Paul Saiz, MD: Spine Surgery Options for Back Pain

Back pain is recognized as the second-most common neurological disorder in the United States, with nearly $50 billion spent each year in an effort to treat the condition. Paul Saiz, MD, a physician at Las Cruces Orthopaedic Associates and the only physician in the state who is board certified in spine surgery, has been treating patients who suffer from back pain for more than a decade. Read here about three different types of spine surgery that can be used to treat back pain.

Fusion – A spinal fusion is performed to help stop pain generated from motion at degenerative vertebrae. This procedure in essence “welds” together the painful vertebrae so that they are reconciled into one solid bone. Depending on the situation, a spinal fusion may be performed in conjunction with a laminectomy to promote stability within the spine.

Laminectomy – A laminectomy is the process of completely removing anatomy such as bone, discs, or ligaments to address the issue of pinched nerves. This procedure helps to open up the area surrounding the nerves and relieves pressure on the spinal cord or individual nerves.

Laminotomy – Similar to a laminectomy, this procedure also helps to relieve the pressure on the nerves. However, in this instance, there is only a partial removal of any bone, discs, or ligaments; as opposed to a complete removal with a laminectomy.

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