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Old 07-16-2003, 07:51 AM   #16
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 7
Monie HB User
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Hi, I'm new here as you can tell. I'm reading these posts and find myself dumbfounded I guess is the word... I have had four (4) back surgeries for 5 ruptured discs and scar tissue compressing on nerves. the first 3 were laminectomies and the last being bilateral fusion where the doc makes an incision on your back and in the front right abdomin taking bone from my hip to do the fusion. I had it about 3 years ago. It helped my pain that I had before surgery meaning it got me out of the bed and walking/sitting. But it's like I traded one type of pain for another. I can definately tell where the 2 rods and 6 screws are in my back because they are so uncomfortable. (I had the fusion at levels L3, L4, and L5.)
I've been thinking that the rods are causing most of my pain but the doctor just keeps insisting that it is just inflammation from arthritis, overdoing, whatever!
Since the surgery I have had to have on average about 9 epiderals a year besides taking heavy pain meds and muscle relaxers daily just to be able to function.

Since Dec. my pain has increased to the point that I have to stay in bed most of the time...I avoid driving, sitting, standing, anything that would cause more pain so I'm in bed most of the time. I've had the epidurals, trigger point shots, PT, massages, the works and still no relief. I had a CT/Myelogram about 3 weeks ago and it shows that I have 2 bulging discs and significant facet hypertrophy??? (I'm guessing that is scar tissue) and spinal stenosis. I'm READY to have surgery to fix this but my doctor said yesterday that I may not have to have surgery.

I didn't know that you could take the hardware out once it was put in there. I've been regretting having the fusion because at times it feels like when you put a steak on the grill and it sticks to it...that's how it feels around my rods. Am I the only one that feels like this? How did you know that you should get the hardware removed? Was it as painful as the fusion itself?

Thanks for listening to me. Sorry it was so long. I hope someone will respond as I am desparate. My family needs me. I have a son with a critical heart problem that I have to watch closely and I feel that I've neglected him through all of this pain since Dec.
Thanks again.

 
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Old 07-16-2003, 10:21 AM   #17
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: OK USA
Posts: 229
L5S1 HB User
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Hi Monie and welcome to this board

It is very difficult to convince doctors to check for hardware problems. I do not know if it their egos interfere with judgement. In most cases, the hardware can be removed after the fusion is complete (aprox. 12 months post-op). In fact, some patients request no hardware to be inserted during fusion because of hardware problems. The recovery time is longer and back braces have to be worn continuously until the back has completely fused.

In my case, I was progressing very well at 6 months and then noticed after physical activity I was getting worse. My back would swell and the pain was progressively increasing. I was fortunate I had a doctor who was open minded. Although, he did mention he never had anyone with his hardware implants. To appease him, I went to a chiro my doctor recommended because he thought I had a facet joint problem. The chiro confirmed he also thought it was a hardware problem and my doctor agreed to perform exploratory surgery. I asked my doctor if there were any tests to check for hardware problems and he said xrays and MRI images are blocked by the hardware. I do not blame my doctor for having a loose screw because I could have done something during my recovery.

You know your body and you know that something is not right. You have to find a way to communicate with your doctor to discuss possible hardware problems.

I hope you begin feeling better soon [img]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/t_up.gif[/img]

---------------------
Spondylolisthesis - level 2 L5/S1
Pars Defect
End Plate Separation
2 Nerve Root Blocks (no effect)
L5/S1 Posterior Fusion with hardware (no BAK cages due to lack of disk space) 08/02
Right side hardware removed due to loose screw and rod rubbing against facet joint - 03/03
Can now say I am better than prior to the fusion!!!!



__________________
Spondylolisthesis - level 2 L5/S1
Pars Defect
End Plate Separation
2 Nerve Root Blocks (no effect)
L5/S1 Posterior Fusion with hardware (no BAK cages due to lack of disk space) - August 2002
Right side hardware removed due to loose screw and rod rubbing against facet joint - March 2003
Sciatica returned 8/03 - Tried Neurontin and Elavil - Eased sciatica but could not tolerate medicine.
11/03 MRI of cervical and thorasic spine

 
Old 07-16-2003, 11:03 AM   #18
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 7
backbone1 HB User
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HELLO TO EVERYONE OUT THERE!
I HAD WRITTEN BEFORE ABOUT REMOVING HARDWARE FROM FUSION, AND HAVE READ THAT MOST OF YOU OUT THERE HAD SOME RELIEF. I AM JUST WONDERING IF TAKING ALL THE HARDWARE OUT WILL HELP. AS I HAVE WRITTEN, I HAVE FUSION FROM T7-SACRUM. HAS ANYONE EVER HAD THAT MUCH WORK DONE? AND HAVE THEY HAVE ALL OF THE HARDWARE REMOVED? THANKS AND TAKE CARE

 
Old 07-16-2003, 01:53 PM   #19
Senior Member
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: OK USA
Posts: 229
L5S1 HB User
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Hi Ptweety

Hardware removal was a very easy surgery for me. I was told the surgery only took 45 minutes. When I returned to my room, I was able to get up and go to the bathroom. When the pt came in the evening to see if I needed any help, I was able to walk around the hospital without any assistance. After one week of being home, I was able to return to work. I noticed a immediate improvement after the surgery. I would have been better if I did not get pneumonia from the anesthesia!!!

Please let us know of your surgery and your results. There are several people on this board interested in hardware removal. Also, How did you know you might have a hardware problem and how long ago was your fusion?

I pray you will feel fantastic after the hardware is removed [img]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/t_up.gif[/img]

---------------------
Spondylolisthesis - level 2 L5/S1
Pars Defect
End Plate Separation
2 Nerve Root Blocks (no effect)
L5/S1 Posterior Fusion with hardware (no BAK cages due to lack of disk space) 08/02
Right side hardware removed due to loose screw and rod rubbing against facet joint - 03/03
Can now say I am better than prior to the fusion!!!!




[This message has been edited by L5S1 (edited 07-17-2003).]
__________________
Spondylolisthesis - level 2 L5/S1
Pars Defect
End Plate Separation
2 Nerve Root Blocks (no effect)
L5/S1 Posterior Fusion with hardware (no BAK cages due to lack of disk space) - August 2002
Right side hardware removed due to loose screw and rod rubbing against facet joint - March 2003
Sciatica returned 8/03 - Tried Neurontin and Elavil - Eased sciatica but could not tolerate medicine.
11/03 MRI of cervical and thorasic spine

 
Old 07-16-2003, 07:38 PM   #20
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Powell,Tn
Posts: 41
scissorhands HB User
Post

Monie: Most Neuro's put harware in when they do fusion to help stabilize the spine while the fusion is fusing. My neuro told me that mine needed to be in for at least two years and afterthat if it was bothering me in any way, he would remove it. After about six months, all heck broke loose and I had gotten to the point when I could not turn over in bed, sit for more than five minutes, walk any distance and couldn't stand without screaming...
So I waited out the two years and six weeks ago, had my harware removed, my neuro was so pleased that it immediately took away my right leg pain, there is still back pain, but I can live with it...You may want to insist to your Neuro that this is something you want to have done, the thing is, if the pain is this bad for you, anything is worth a shot.

Brenda

------------------
Back surgery (laminectomy L4) 1996
Back surgery (laminectomy L5S1) 1999
Back surgery (rods, screws, cages,fusion) 2001
Back surgery (hardware removal, more fusion) 2003
__________________
Sex on Television can't hurt you, Unless you fall off!

 
Old 07-19-2003, 05:46 PM   #21
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 7
Monie HB User
Smile

L5S1 and Scisscorhands,

Thank you so much for the information about your hardware. I'm going to get a second opinion next week from someone and will also talk to my doctor about it my next office visit. You've given me hope that these problems can be fixed. You don't know how I appreciate it.

I'll be checking back often to check the boards. They are so interesting. It's comforting to talk to and read about others who are going through some of the same things as me.

God bless you,

Monie

 
Old 08-08-2003, 06:19 PM   #22
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Peru, IL, USA
Posts: 7
Ptweety HB User
Question

Well, Hello all, sorry It took so long to respond back to the board. I am now up after my hardware removal, but I am having a hard time. It is hard for me to get up after sitting or lying down.
I had a bad reaction to something in the hospital but they don't know what. It took 2 hours to come out of recover room. They couldn't wake me up. I don't know what happen [img]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/blob_fire.gif[/img] I had such a severe severe headache, don't know what from. i was really nauseated. My husband gave me some ice chips, but they gave me some new pain med fentinal, or something like that through I.V, that was the 2nd time I had it, but it didn't do what it did this time! I couldn't get up to go to the bathroom and walk it was so bad. Had to have my whole room black, and the door shut, but with all the noise in the hallway I still felt it. The doctor thinks it might have been a spinal headache. says that some might have leaked out. that is all I needed. Has anyone heard of that?
Went back to the doctor the nurse took out my staples, the doctor says he is going to wait 6 weeks, and if it isn't any better, he will go ahead and fuse L3-L4 where it is loose. L4-S1 is fused solid. Which is good!! [img]http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/t_up.gif[/img]
That is my update so far, I will let you all know when I get further down the road and start feeling better I hope, because I can't hardly walk right now.
My headaches are better now though, but it took awhile.
Thanks for responding to my messages everyone!
Have a good one!
Ptweety

 
Old 02-25-2008, 12:22 AM   #23
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 1
ladybug66 HB User
Re: Removal of hardware after lumbar fusion

I had a lumbar fusion L3 – S1 two years ago (March 2006), which included a lamenectomy at L5-S1 w/cage, among other procedures (huge surgery). This included the placement of instrumentation (two rods & 8 screws). I have done fairly well since the surgery, definitely getting much relief from the pre-surgery pain and regaining an active lifestyle. However, within about six months I began having spasms and indescribable discomfort with the hardware; pinching, feeling it as I laid on my back, swelling, etc. On February 19, (last Tues.) I had all of the hardware removed with the hope of gaining relief from the discomfort and to fully enjoy the benefits of the fusion. As can be expected, I'm miserable at the moment simply because of surgical pain. However, I'm nervous as I read about "spinal collapse" and other such problems that were not discussed with me by my surgeon (allegedly I have one of the best in the nation). Does anyone have any thoughts/suggestions about what I can expect as I recover? I was told that the bone holding the fusion is actually stronger than the hardware anyway once it is fully fused. If this is the case it would seem I have nothing to worry about if the fusion was truly a success. I desperately seek an active lifestyle again, and would appreciate any input from someone who has gone through this experience. Thanks in advance for your reply.

 
Old 02-25-2008, 05:55 AM   #24
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Washington, D.C.
Posts: 87
lizzybrog80 HB User
Re: Removal of hardware after lumbar fusion

[QUOTE=Ptweety;108939]wbaker68
Thank you for the reply, I will keep watching and checking.
I have had 2 lumbar laminectomies, 1 fusion on the lower back, and a neck fusion on c4-c5, no problems with the neck. The lumbar was L3-S1 in 96 and 99 and neck fusion in 97. Had discectomy, mylegrams, epiderals, they were terrible. I am only 35!!

This is what I feel like![/QUOTE]

Sorry to ask a question within a post, but I see that you have 3 levels fused. Can you tell me how that is? How limited are you? I just have no idea how much even one level fused affects a persons' day-to-day life, and if I ever had to do fusion it would probably be a 3-level (same levels as you). Just curious. Thanks!
__________________
Back pain since March 2005
2 ESI's - Feb. 2006
Discograms 11/16/06 & 7/10/07
End. Discectomy - July 2007 (L4/5)
3-level Foraminal Inj. - Jan. 2008 (L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1)
IDET - 1/25/08 (L3/4)

 
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