I have a new question to all my back pain folks. Why do I read alot about the fusion hardware having to be removed. Is it because the type the doctor uses, is it the body's reaction to it and if so why dont they test us for allergic reaction before they put it in? I am just doing some investigations on my own so I am loaded with questions before the big day. It seems like alot of people have to have it removed and I find that not too pleasant to have to go through all that again. If in my case I am almost bone on bone at l5 and s1 so if they put pedicle screws and cage in there then how would they possibly have to someday take it out. Any thoughts and answers on this one I do appreciate all of you on here, you are surely a great group of people to talk with. God Bless You all, Ms M
I just had a fusion w/rods and screws and I have the same question. The doctor did tell me that he may never have to take them out, but he may too. I didn't get too specific because I was out of it using the morphine pump. I will know more on Jan. 6th when I go back to see him.
My spine specialist tells me that he typically does not remove hardware from patients who have a one or two level fusion, as it does not tend to become a problem. However, for patients with three or more levels, as they become more active, the hardware usually becomes intollerable somewhere between one and two years as muscles become irritated moving across the screw heads. I managed to keep the hardware 17 months the first time before asking that it be removed. The second 3 level fusion was where muscles did not rub, so it was not a problem, but yes, after I healed from the re do on the first 3 level fusion (it was broken in a MVA) then again I was reaching a point that it was bothering me. I did not have to go through the removal though, as more of my spine collapsed, and I had to have a 10 level done, and of course the other hardware was removed and those 6 levels reworked so that a total proper alignment was achieved.
My spine specialist tells me that we are not likely to need to remove this massive hardware, because I can no longer bend in the back, so muscles will not be rubbing over the screw heads except in the thoracic area. Yes, they bother me some, but it has just been one year and so far I am not asking for relief of pain caused by hardware. Removing three levels of hardware was an out patient 45 minute procedure for me, but it took more than 12 hours to put in 10 levels of hardware and the doc said that if it had to come out, it sure would not be as easy as before. I hope I don't have to find out how difficult it could be.
It is understandable that if a screw works loose, or some type of infection develops on a smaller fusion, hardware may need to be removed anyway. Titanium is used in the rods, so people should not be allergic to the hardware, but I don't know for sure that the screws are also titanium. Also, we have to acknowledge that every doc has their own preference and may wish hardware to be removed or not removed, regardless of whether or not it has caused the patient problems. Just another reason we patients have to be so proactive in our own care and try to stay a step ahead with questions to our docs.
Hope this informations helps.
The Following User Says Thank You to Quietcook For This Useful Post: painfulanne (08-29-2011)
To Jacritc and quiet cook thanks so much for your input and cook you really had a bad sugery. Oh my I feel for you I could almost feel the pain of what you had to go through. I will ask the doctor what he is using on my for the L5 S1 fusion with a cage? and I will ask him about those screws. Someone told me they have flexible hardware now. Thanks so much and Jacrit where was your fusion and how is your pain level now that you had your surgery? Take care my friends.
[QUOTE=msmona]To Jacritc and quiet cook thanks so much for your input and cook you really had a bad sugery. Oh my I feel for you I could almost feel the pain of what you had to go through. I will ask the doctor what he is using on my for the L5 S1 fusion with a cage? and I will ask him about those screws. Someone told me they have flexible hardware now. Thanks so much and Jacrit where was your fusion and how is your pain level now that you had your surgery? Take care my friends.
Hi again, and yes it was the roughest surgery I had ever been through, but worth it as I am still very active.
As for the flexible hardware, you can read about it and see how it looks, just like the fixed hardware. Bionic Witch has a thread at the top of the board about new info. She provided us the link to spine universe which is one of several very good sites for information. Once there, search for Dynesys system, which is the flexible fusion.
Hi Msmona, I have asked alot of questiions to everyone also about this. Then why bother doing the surgery at all if they know the hardware will need to be removed? I don't know or understand these Doctors today. My all say that there is nothing they can do for me anymore. Just take the hardware out. If it will remove some of this pain it would be great. But who knows? I hope you never have to go through hardware removal. and best of luck from your surgery.