Just wanted to chime in and say hello. I had mentioned in an earlier post that I would be having my hardware removed from L4-S1 (2 rods and 6 screws). I just wanted to let you all know how it went incase anyone needs or wanted to know. I went into the Hospital at 5:30am for a 730 surgery time. It lasted approximately 1.5 hours and my fusion was deemed solid upon exploration. The pain is NOWHERE near as bad as a fusion but still of course is not a cake walk. I went home in about 5 hours including recovery room time. I was able to walk very slowly with my walker and it feels as if I have a TON of throbbing pressure on the surgery site. It is still to early to be able to tell if the surgery has helped any of my residual pain or the pain in my legs ( a screw was pinching 2 of my nerves and is reason it had to come out). Right now I think that I may have a bit more feeling in the left leg but not totally sure. The pain meds are really throwing me off since i had to increase them a small bit for the surgical pain. Today I am also having a VERY bad day for pain, I believe that all of the Anesesthia affects, and post op Dilaudid, Demerol and Morphine has worn off completly and is the reason for the pain. I am currently taking my own dialuadid, Oxycontin, Lyrica (same meds as always, and added some extra dilaudid for post op pain) It does help but not as well as the IV meds from the hospital. Well I am off to play some videogames and tinker around on the computer now. Just thought that this may be some good information for anyone needing or just curious about this surgery. God Bless you my friends and have a wonderful day, hope it is pain free.
I had some hardware removed last September and thought it would be a cinch, after that long recovery from the fusion. The hardware removal was harder on me than I had expected. As my doctor pointed out, taking hardware out of bone causes trauma to the bone and all the tissues around it, and it can also irritate nerves. So take it slow and don't try to jump right back into things too quickly. I paid for that!
Keep you meds up and enjoy lying around playing your video games!
So glad it all went well so far. I had my hardware removed a year after my first fusion, it had two lose screws, hubby loved that one, lol. It is a much easier surgery compared to the fusion surgery. I hope you pain decreases and it should as the next few days go by.
"Thru every dark corner is a door to a new light"
I was wondering if I could ask you a question. I had a spinal Fusion of the S1-L5 on Feb 1, 2005. But the hardware migrated and had to be redone on May 2, 2005. At that time I ask my surgeon if sometime in the future if I ever wanted the hardware removed, could i have it done? He said no. It needed to stay in case of a car accident for support, ect.
I have had severe pain in the tailbone & Lumbar area ever since the fusion and not a day goes by that i wish they would remove it. After the second surgery a nerve was pinched causing severe sciatica in the left leg and I now have Aracnoiditis (Severe Skin Burning, You name it!).
I recently ran into another woman at the pharmacy who had a Spinal Fusion 1 year ago, I asked her who did her fusion and I was shocked to find we had the same Surgeon. She had tears in her eyes as she told me the EXACT SAME STORY. How she had her fusion, and the hardware migated and he had to do a SECOND fusion on her too! and HER second fusion, she ended up with the same pinched nerves as I did. WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
I began thinking, "I wonder if he did not tighten the hardware enough on purpose?" and everyone seems to have surgery TWICE by this man.
But I still think I would be better off having my hardware removed and feel it would relieve some of my pain. I cannot sit or drive very long without severe lower lumbar pain, EXACTLY where the hardware is.
Can you tell me how To talk to my Surgeon about removing the hardware? And are you glad you had yours removed?
I am sorry for the trouble that you are having with pain and back problems. Surgeons in my opinion are the most hard headed bunch of people that i have ever met. In my opinion they have a god complex and believe that all they do is "fix" things. I am not sure if I am glad that the hardware was removed yet or not as it is only 3 days post op at this point in time and just way to early to tell if my lower back pain or the nerve pain related issues in my legs (screw was pinching this nerve) is going to be any better or not. The Dr. told me that it would probably help only a small bit and keep it from getting worse but would probably not make it any better. As we all know, everyones bodies are sooo different and tend to heal and feel differently than others do. I guess we all tend to have our own uniques experiences. However, it goes without saying that if a screw is loose or pinching a nerve then there is going to be problems. I am not sure how to tell you talk to your doctor but I can tell you about how my hardware ended up being removed.
I requested him to do a CT exam of my back since this was my second surgery due to the first surgery not fusing and another was required (i also had yet another very bad disk above the surgyer site that was addressed by fusing also). The Dr. did the typical eyeroll at me about the CT saying that the xrays confirmed fusion but he was going to do it to be sure since i had already not fused once before. Needless to say i went for a CT exam. I seeked a second opinion on the CT results Before the primary care ortho. I did this to ensure that if the 2nd opinion DR found something then the primary could not just brush me off by saying all was okay when i had the opposite results in my back pocket (so to speak). The 2nd opinion Dr had pointed out that the screws where not in the pedicle and could be pinching a nerve off. This nerve was the one that went to my left and right legs and confirmed why I could be having some of the pain that i was complaining of. Luckily I did not have to battle with my DR about the problems with the screw since he noticed the problems on the CT exam right away. The DR did ask If i wanted the hardware out or not explaining that typically they are not removed but could be if so chose. So I chose to have it removed and see what happened (hoping that it would reduce my pain). I will update you in another post directed towards you in about a week or less when i see some results in one way or another. Also, on another note, you say that you are skepitcle (spelling?) about your Dr not tightening your screws so you would require another surgery. I would not worry about that being the case, I would think that if your DR just enjoyed performing surgery's on you for the money then he would have not problem removing the hardware so he could receive even more yet again. I also know that the Dr will not remove any hardware until you are without a doubt fused. have you requested an EMG by chance? this is a nerve test done to help confirm problems with nerves and could also be another great diagnostic tool in confirming that your hardware (or other issues..scar tissue etc...) could be causing you problems. Sorry for the very long post but I hope that it may help you in some way to answer your questions. Also seek another opinion if at all possible, if you are going to an ortho then seek and opinion from a neurologist, or seek an ortho if you are already seeing a neurologist, this will give you a Dr with a different way of thinking and can sometimes be the difference you need.
Good luck in your quest for pain relief and answers
I am so glad you posted this as I fear I may need my L4-S1 hardware out (been there nearly 15 years). I see the doctor this Friday and hopefully he'll send me for some good imaging studies (MRI, CT, etc) to see if the pain I'm having is hardware based.
Thank You for answering my questions,
He says he will not remove hardware, And YES, I have had 3 EMG's in the past 1 1/2 years by 3 different Doctor's and they all say the same thing, that the nerves are pinched in the S1-L5 from the fusion and is worse in the left lside and runs down the entire left leg.
I was one of the lucky ones, My fusion was complete very early on.
When I saw my Pain Management's PA the other day, she was very nice and checked where I told her I could not sit for very long or stand, or drive long distances or otherwise I would not be able to stand or walk. The pain is to severe. It's been 2 years and I cannot stand it.
She told me what I was feeling was the hardware.
But now I am having problems with the L-4. I am doing everything I can to not have another fusion,so if I can have this hardware removed, I need to have it done and then work on the L-4 to keep from having anymore Fusions in the future.
So, Yes, I will keep and eye out for your post, and if you think it was worth it, I will start looking for someone and decide if this is best for me as well.
If so, that will leave alot of options open for me to try on the L-4 that I never had on the S1-L5.