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Old 06-14-2007, 09:27 PM   #1
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? About Hardware Removal

I saw my PM doc yesterday about getting another injection into my sacroiliac joint...This is really to determine if the pelvic screw that was placed into the pelvis for fixation with my fusion should be removed. If it is causing pain then my surgeon feels it should come out...

My PM doc does not feel it should come out...I really am in agreement with him...He gave me some very good questions for my surgeon. My PM doc said that he sees many people that have had the pelvic screw removed only to have the rest of the hardware work lose and then the need for yet another surgery. He also said to ask if the fusion could fall apart if he removes the screw. He said he has seen that happen as well.

After talking with my PM doc I think I am leaning towards letting the screw where it is and just putting up with the pain. I cannot walk very far, but I do not know if it is just the one screw causing the pain anyway...I happen to think it is more than one screw and think too that the pain is coming from higher up...unfortunately...the thoracic spine...L 10 and L11....

Has anyone had hardware removed and then had their fusion fail or fall apart?

 
Old 06-15-2007, 03:27 AM   #2
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Re: ? About Hardware Removal

I thought when they took hardware out that they took it all out. I am having my hardware out as soon as they approve the surgery. I was under the impression that they will determine for sure when they go in if the fusion has taken and they will then remove it. I could see if they were going to revise something that they would leave part of the hardware and do a different area. I only have the hardware at L4-S1. Maybe I am confused as I don't have a screw in my pelvis area. Was this for some type of stabilization??? I would think it would be all or none in that case. A lot of people say they don't feel their hardware. I can feel mine. It is painful. Good luck and I hope they can do something for your pain.

 
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Old 06-15-2007, 05:04 AM   #3
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Re: ? About Hardware Removal

I totally understand all confusion caused by different opinions. I realize that when it comes to the spine - so many Doctors have different opinions on everything: to have surgery or not, to remove hardware or not, is this a nerve damage or not, etc. etc.
It drives me nuts that I can't get at least couple same opinions, because you don't know who to listen, who is wrong and who is right...

I also have pelvic screws and metal clips and also screws and rods at L-4,L-5 S-1. But my Doctor does not believe to remove hardware, he stated that he knows cases when it was removed and than they needed another surgery to put it back to stabilize the spine. See, another confusion...

 
Old 06-15-2007, 09:26 AM   #4
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Re: ? About Hardware Removal

[COLOR="Navy"]My surgeon "offered" to take my hardware out. I turned and looked at him with my mouth hanging open like i had seen i don' know what. Now remember, I have two 15" rods and 20 screws.

I looked at him and said, "why in the world would I want you to take them out? Is this minor surgery?"

"No, it's fairly major surgery and will require hospitalization..and to be truthful, I personally don't want to do it.....but as your physician I have to offer you the option."

I told him not only NO, not in this lifetime but not in the next lifetime either.....Since he put the rods up under my ribcage to make sure I am stable, I see no reason to upset the apple cart. I know that I suffer with the weather changes, but the knowledge that my spine is solid and stable sure beats the alternatives....[/COLOR]

 
Old 06-15-2007, 10:36 PM   #5
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Re: ? About Hardware Removal

I agree...They put this hardware in the spine for a reason...Unless he can give a pretty darn good reason for removing it...I think it has to stay where it is...At least for now....
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4/06 - Lumbar Fusion - L1 to S1
8/17/05 - Cervical Fusion - C4-5, 5-6, 6-7
1/4/05 - Lumbar Laminectomy - L3,L4,L5,S1,S2

 
Old 06-16-2007, 04:35 AM   #6
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Re: ? About Hardware Removal

Okay now, let me throw in a completely different scenario. In 1982, I had a fusion with hardware. It fused - maybe I was a lucky one. I never had hardware. Granted the disc above it blew and I needed a new fusion - they used hardware for that and now the one of above that is herninated.

In 1982 they didn't use hardware so why would you need it now ??? Newer technology?? Was the failure rate at that time that bad???? That non-hardware fusion did it cause my vertebrae to slip forward ???? Just a couple random thoughts. . . . . .

 
Old 06-16-2007, 05:26 AM   #7
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Re: ? About Hardware Removal

Diet,
your questions are interesting... I would like to hear the answers to them - i wonder how did your first fusion lasted for so long without hardware?
And now, so many years later they do use hardware and so many surgeries fail (l am on of them)??

 
Old 06-16-2007, 08:45 AM   #8
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Re: ? About Hardware Removal

Was it because I was so young and active - 17 years old. Now I am 40 something. I don't know. I also wonder if the upper new fusion will put added pressure on the old fusion below it and cause it to break down.

 
Old 06-16-2007, 11:14 AM   #9
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Re: ? About Hardware Removal

I was offered a fusion without hardware L1 to L5, but would have to wear a backbrace until the fusion took. It could be six months or nine months or a year. They would simply pack bone. If the fusion wouldn't take then they would go in and do hardware. I was not comfortable with that idea.

I spoke with a man that had gone that route and his fusion did last for ten years, but then failed. When they went in to place the hardware they could not get the hardware to stay in place or the bones to fuse. He is going into a wheelchair. When I heard that it scared me a bit...so I have opted for hardware, but now am faced with hardware removal as well.

I have a very long pelvic screw that was placed into the pelvis for stabilization. When I spoke with my Pain Management doctor about this he was concerned that if removed the entire fusion might fail. He said if it breaks and it might. He thought it should just be replaced not removed. He said that there was a problem with the screws breaking a few years ago, but he has not heard of screws breaking now for years...so I am rather concerned about the need to remove the pelvic screw.

I think hardware is placed for a reason....My surgeon told me it was my brace...Maybe I do not need a brace now...but I would rather keep it as a safety cushion...
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4/06 - Lumbar Fusion - L1 to S1
8/17/05 - Cervical Fusion - C4-5, 5-6, 6-7
1/4/05 - Lumbar Laminectomy - L3,L4,L5,S1,S2

Last edited by Appledumpling; 06-16-2007 at 11:19 AM.

 
Old 06-18-2007, 09:21 AM   #10
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Re: ? About Hardware Removal

Apple,
my Doctor in NYC (HSS)told me the same thing: if i will have second surgery, they will replace my hardware ( long pelvic screw included) but they will NOT remove it! I wonder how come so many Doctors have such opposite opinions? Interesting...

 
Old 06-11-2009, 03:26 PM   #11
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Re: ? About Hardware Removal

i had a car accident on march 14 2009 i had pelvic surgery and the doctor put in a SI screw in pelvic.Im in so much pain right. I cant walk right. I feel like one leg is longer than the other. Im going to see my doc on the 30th of june. I just want the screw taken out. Im wondering if you can get it removed and how long would be the recovery time?

 
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