Has anyone had experience with having their fusion hardware removed? I'm trying to find the pros/cons in having the surgery... I'm pretty sure that the current problems I'm having with my back are due to the complete immobility of my back at L5/S1, as well as the muscles being irritated like crazy.
I had my fusion done in October of 2001, and have done quite well until about the last year. Now my pain level has shot way up again, and even my usual "dose" of rolfing massage isn't helping much.
MRIs and Xrays show my fusion hardware is stable, and there's no apparent nerve root impingement. I've got new areas of numbness since May, and I'm getting very nervous about that not going away.
I had my hardware removed about a year after my fusion. I developed a infection from that surgery that landed me for another nine days in the hospital after the week in for my fusion. not a fun time, glad that has past. In the end, I gained some relief, not nearly enough to justify the pain I went through. Two years later I am still not working, constantly in pain, still on a handful of meds every couple hours. So Im probally not the best example to use. :0(
Hafgan - could you please tell us about the removal procedure? What did it entail? How long was the surgery? How long was the hospital stay? How painful was the procedure post surgical pain? I realize that you had an infection and I am sure that made you pain levels higher? Any details you can share would be so appreciated.
How long ago did you have this procedure?
Have you had any MRI's or xrays since? I am curious specifically if there have been any complications since removal.
Lori, I hope you don't mind me asking all these questions. They are thinking about removing mine in February, 1 year post op and fuse the next level up. YIKES.
Lori, my bf just had his hardware removed 2 weeks ago. The pain he experienced prior to this surgery is gone. No leg pain and numbness is gone BUt he has other problems from the surgery now..anemia and fluid keeps building up on his back. This is his 4th lower back surgery. Hopefully in time these other health issues will clear up but the good thing is that I think his back will be okay soon. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
Hardware removal from anywhere in the body other than the spine is pretty "easy" surgery. The spine, though, has so many nerves running along it that this type of surgery is quite delicate. I had all my hardware removed after my first fusion, 30 years ago. I was in a state-of-the-art hospital with a doctor with an excellent reputation, yet a nerve was nicked. I had a numb spot about four inches in diameter on my back that took several years to regenerate. Not a horrible complication, just mildly annoying. But this is one reason they don't take out the hardware unless there's a good reason.
I'm having some of my new hardware out next week. One of the hooks is protruding. It hasn't broken through the skin, but it's quite painful to lean back on. I have memory foam everyplace I need to lean to pad it. This is supposed to be an outpatient procedure. As long as I don't have a reaction to the anesthesia, I'll be home in the afternoon.