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Old 01-01-2009, 09:58 AM   #1
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denise40 HB User
Exclamation Increased pain after Hardware Removal?

Happy New Year!!! everyone,
I had hardware removal from L-5 - S1 on the 13 th of this month. I felt pain relief from the sciatica while in the hospital. But after coming home I would say maybe 3 days the leg pain came back and is horrible. Has anyone had their hardware removed and not improved their condition? This is my second surgery and I am so dissapointed. I had my spinal fusion in may of 2007. I really feel like Im falling into a depression or something. before this surgery I walked with a limp now I walk with a caneIf anyone could share their experience i would greatly appreciate it.


God Bless All Of you this Year!!!!

Denise

 
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Old 01-01-2009, 08:39 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: western us
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ms_west HB User
Re: Increased pain after Hardware Removal?

Denise, it is with mixed emotions that I am replying to your post. I always want to be positive but frankly sometimes it is hard but at the same time if someone asks I feel it is important to be honest no matter what. When you read my response, I want you to realize that this is my story. It does not mean that this will be your story. Also keep in mind that each individuals case is different and my has certainly been different and full of complications and complexities.

On Dec. 8th of this year, I underwent my 5th spinal surgery. Yep, 5th and I am so excited to say that I feel so much better than I have in years and I am on 3 weeks out from surgery. I no longer have the nerve pain in my leg or if I do get it; it is simply a quick pain that is gone as quick as it starts. Now my back pain, I feel it is better but it really is to early to say due to the incisional pain.

With that said, in November 2007 I had my hardware removed and I hate to tell you this but you asked -- my pain worsened and I had to go on narcotics 24/7. I went from taking 2 percocets a day to 110 mg. oxycontin per day. The pain was unbelievable. On December 4th, 2008, I saw my surgeon and we made the decision that we needed to try another surgery. Thank goodenss within 4 days I was in the OR. PRAISE THE LORD. My pain was a 9 on the pain scale and I was having bladder control problems. I was walking completely hunched over with a cane and dragging my right foot. I felt like I had no spinal support at all.

When I underwent surgery, my surgeon was shocked. When I had my surgery the year before, I was partially fused and he removed the right side of the hardware. When he went in this time, there was no fusion. The fusion disappeared/broke apart. I had fragments floating in the spinal column. He removed all of that. He also did a laminectomy on L3, L4, L5, L6 (extra verterbrae) and he fused L3 thru s2 with hardware. He inserted two cages. He removed all of the disc at L3 thru L6 and I was under for 8 hours.

I am sharing this because I want you to realize that IF this surgery did not work, I want you to hang on to hope. Don't give up. I really feel I am finally on the up swing. Just because this happened to me does not mean it will happen to you.

I strongly recommend that you:

*obtain a good pm doctor who is willing to prescribe meds to keep you comfortable. Some docs just don't understand what it is like to live with pain day after day and will not prescribe high doses of pain meds. No one should have to live above a 5 on the pain scale day after day. Fight for your rights.
*obtain a good psychologist who is familiar with chronic pain
*try not to talk about all this with your friends and family. They don't get it and can't begin to relate. Talk to other chronic pain individuals and the psychologist.
*consider going on anti-depressants. I did not realize I was depressed and going on these medications was the best thing I did. It allowed me to let some of the anger/emotions just roll off my shoulders so that I could keep things together for my children.

I hope I have not upset/scared you. It was not my intent. Also please realize that you are not that far out from surgery and they did have to cut your muscles to get in and remove the hardware. They also have to chisel and drill out the screws and rods. This is painful. This alone will take up to 12 weeks to recover from. Just be super careful and don't lift, twist or bend. Take it really easy and let yourself recover.

Hang on to hope dear and know that I am here for you and will subscribe to this thread so I will be alerted if you post on this thread. Good luck and I just said a prayer for you.

P.S. Go to your family doctor and have them check your thyroid levels. After my surgery last year 2007, I developed thyroid problems and guess what it increased my leg pain significantly. When I went on thyroid problems, part of the pain went away. Just have it checked in case. These spinal surgeries are very long and hard on our bodies systems.

Last edited by ms_west; 01-01-2009 at 08:44 PM.

 
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:35 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: virginia
Posts: 90
lisam1120 HB User
Re: Increased pain after Hardware Removal?

Denise..
I too had a fusion at L5-S1 in May of 2007, in May of 2008 they removed the hardware due to severe pain. They figured if they removed the hardware that that would reduce my pain levels, well how wrong they were, my pain levels have skyrocketed and have been horrible since.

I did have a great Doc that was treating my pain, but I have since been told to find a PM. My first appt was last week and after going through excrutiating injections, I was placed on approx 6 different meds and my pain med was reduced drastically. This entire week has been hell with dealing with the pain as well as the side effects of the new meds.

You can read my post Need PM doc in Va or Md?.

I know how you are feeling, believe me and i'm so sorry that someone else has to suffer the same as I am.

Last edited by lisam1120; 01-14-2009 at 02:36 AM. Reason: Sorry Denise my post is under the Pain Managment fourm

 
Old 01-14-2009, 11:05 AM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Virginia
Posts: 3,303
BlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB UserBlueAtlas HB User
Re: Increased pain after Hardware Removal?

Hi Denise,
You may need to just give it some time. I had just one piece of my hardware removed and ended up with quite a lot of new pain in one hip and down that leg. It was awful, much worse than the pain from the hardware had been. My doctor told me I was trying to do too much too soon and that it takes time for the tissues and nerves to calm down after hardware removal. My hook that had to be removed was encased in bone and had to be wrenched free. That causes trauma to the bone, the tissues, and the nerves in the area. It took a number of months, but that hip/leg pain finally did calm down. I'm glad I had the removal done. Recovery was harder than I expected, but now it's over and that horrible hook is out!

Hang in there. Take whatever pain meds they'll give you, but keep your hopes up that you're still recovering and this will probably get much, much better as things get back to normal inside.

Emily

 
Old 09-15-2010, 05:18 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2
Mel J HB User
Unhappy Re: Increased pain after Hardware Removal?

I had my 2 rods and 4 pins removed in June 2010. This was my 4th back surgery! I have not been pain free since the 2nd back surgery. The 3rd was a fusion of L4-L5. I was 36 at that time. I am 40 now. The pain is much worse down my right hip,leg and I have footdrop. Wear an AFO at times have had to use a walker because my legs both decide they dont want to work! Went to neurologist and my foot on thr right side was blue and to my surprise and the Dr the left foot was also. The pain is undescribeable! A 10 for certain when I sit or stand or walk its horrible. The most comfortable I can get is laying down and it gets really old. I had a spinal nerve block 3 weeks ago it did nothing and the Dr that did it said I only had a 10% chance of it working. I am now being sent for a EMG and to PM Dr.

 
Old 09-20-2010, 07:13 AM   #6
Senior Veteran
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: western us
Posts: 7,267
ms_west HB User
Re: Increased pain after Hardware Removal?

Mel,

Has anyone checked you for RSD? I had 5 spinal surgeries and a stimulator that went bad and have developed this disease. It is extremely painful. I have discloration, unable to keep my foot on the ground, and it is like someone has thrown a container of gasolione and lit a match. I am not saying you have this but it is something you should read up on.

Hugs

 
Old 11-11-2010, 09:52 PM   #7
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Dix Hills, NY, United States
Posts: 1
jmweissler HB User
Unhappy Re: Increased pain after Hardware Removal?

I am in my Mid-fifties. Diagnosed in 1998 with L5/S1 Spondylolisthesis (grade 1 - 7mm), ruptured disc @L5 & lumbar spinal instability. First surgery 1999. Posterior spinal fusion @ L5/S1 with pedicle screw fixation, rt iliac crest bone graft. Horrific pain in lower back and sciatica down both legs. Surgery resulted in less pain until 3/4 years later. Back pain was back (no pun intended) worst than before. Went back to both the orthopaedic and neurosurgeons. Many MRIs later, I was told "fusion is solid, there is no impingement. Go see a rheumatologist, Rheumatologist saids can't see anything that would be causing this pain. I started to think think that I was crazy. I had a spinal stimulator inserted. Worked somewhat but not great and only lasted 1 1/2 years. Next step was a morphine pump. My wife did not like the pump idea. Btw - up to this point I had been on 120 mb of Morphine Sulfate IR and 120 mg of Oxycontin and continued to work in an office environment, a 2 1/2 hour commute each way. Was told about some "miracle" docs at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). I setup an appt and was told that I needed to gather as much of my medical records as I possibly could and submit them. Took me a few weeks to do that. A few weeks after that I got a call that the doctor would see me. Saw him and he said that all looked fine on the films and that there is a great chance that the hardware can cause pain. He wanted to have some more tests run.I had Hardware Shots and then a discography @ L4 & L5. Neither test is what I would call fun.The Hardware Shots gave some relief and the discography did nothing. Went back to the doctor and said that he suggests that he removed the hardware. I had 4 pedicle screws and 2 3" titanium rods. My wife and I discussed and decided that she couldn't stand seeing me in so much pain all the time and I couldn't stand being in so much pain. We scheduled surgery for a few weeks away. Surgery was conducted @ HSS in Manhattan. Went to sleep hoping I would wake up with NO pain but would settle for just a little less pain. I woke up groggy and in pain. Since I was on so much morphine up to this point, I had built up a tolerance. They took away the portable device and started giving much higher doses intravenously every few hours. That worked. Once I was somewhat coherent a few days later, my wife told me that the doc was shocked and that the fusion did not fuse at all and the hardware was slightly ajar. This was the source of my pain that the docs said I didn't have. I was then told that I will need an additional surgery to complete the new fusion.The first surgery was a Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion. They took the original metal out and put in new (titanium). I was to be operated 2 weeks later. I was in the hospital for 4 days. Just got comfortable and it was time for surgery
#2.Since it was anterior and all of the organs there had to be moved out of thew way. In order to do this, I bowels needed to be empty. So on top of all this, I had to drink that horrible tasting solution and remain near a restroom. It was a HORRIBLE few weeks. The second surgery was an ALIF, Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion. They made a 9" incision across my abdomen. They put synthetic bone in a (HAMM) cage and inserted it where the disc used to be. This is called a 360 degree fusion because you are fused on all sides. Recovery was Hell. PAIN, lack of mobility. During the surgeries they did discover that I had severe osteoporosis.Took a good 9 months before I felt somewhat better. Now, its been 2 years and the pain is back. Just had a CT Scan and MRI. The films show mild to moderate and moderate stenosis from L1/L2 to L4/S1.Some are neural foramen, some are facet and some are central canal and some are all 3. Stenosis at L4/L5 is causing impingement of the right L4 nerve root.There is impingement of the right S1 nerve root @ L5/S1. `I had 2 Epidural Steroidal Injections @ L4 bilaterally. Some (15%) pain relief. Having Hardware Shots tomorrow. They will inject anesthesia into the holes where the 4 screws are and if I get relief, they will know that I should get some pain relief from removing the hardware. After this, We go back to talk to the doctor who will undoubtedly say I need more surgery. I will do my best to provide updates. If anyone out there has been through the same, please let me know your current status.

Last edited by Administrator; 04-13-2011 at 11:51 AM.

 
Old 12-13-2010, 02:21 PM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: tennesee
Posts: 1
Buck shooter HB User
Re: Increased pain after Hardware Removal?

My name is Robert im 43 i had a fusion from L2 THRU L5 in nov07 and had the hardware and a football size bone removed in jan2009 after the workers comp doctor retired and referred me to anther doctor who wasn't w/c and listened to my problem.which removed my hardware and the excess bone which relieved some of the pain until i got a staff infection in june2010 and the pain since then is so bad at times i can't stand it. and i have had 9 back surgerys.with no relief in sight. now the w/c are making me switch doctors just when imgot a doctor who is trying to help, and said he could get me back to where i could handle the pain, and go back to work. but now i got to start over with their doctor.if i had it to do over i would not have never had surgery,because im worse now.i hope my story helps you,and good luck.

 
Old 12-27-2010, 12:05 AM   #9
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: nevada
Posts: 1
hurtingagain HB User
Re: Increased pain after Hardware Removal?

[QUOTE=ms_west;3835248]Denise, it is with mixed emotions that I am replying to your post. I always want to be positive but frankly sometimes it is hard but at the same time if someone asks I feel it is important to be honest no matter what. When you read my response, I want you to realize that this is my story. It does not mean that this will be your story. Also keep in mind that each individuals case is different and my has certainly been different and full of complications and complexities.

On Dec. 8th of this year, I underwent my 5th spinal surgery. Yep, 5th and I am so excited to say that I feel so much better than I have in years and I am on 3 weeks out from surgery. I no longer have the nerve pain in my leg or if I do get it; it is simply a quick pain that is gone as quick as it starts. Now my back pain, I feel it is better but it really is to early to say due to the incisional pain.

With that said, in November 2007 I had my hardware removed and I hate to tell you this but you asked -- my pain worsened and I had to go on narcotics 24/7. I went from taking 2 percocets a day to 110 mg. oxycontin per day. The pain was unbelievable. On December 4th, 2008, I saw my surgeon and we made the decision that we needed to try another surgery. Thank goodenss within 4 days I was in the OR. PRAISE THE LORD. My pain was a 9 on the pain scale and I was having bladder control problems. I was walking completely hunched over with a cane and dragging my right foot. I felt like I had no spinal support at all.

When I underwent surgery, my surgeon was shocked. When I had my surgery the year before, I was partially fused and he removed the right side of the hardware. When he went in this time, there was no fusion. The fusion disappeared/broke apart. I had fragments floating in the spinal column. He removed all of that. He also did a laminectomy on L3, L4, L5, L6 (extra verterbrae) and he fused L3 thru s2 with hardware. He inserted two cages. He removed all of the disc at L3 thru L6 and I was under for 8 hours.

I am sharing this because I want you to realize that IF this surgery did not work, I want you to hang on to hope. Don't give up. I really feel I am finally on the up swing. Just because this happened to me does not mean it will happen to you.

I strongly recommend that you:

*obtain a good pm doctor who is willing to prescribe meds to keep you comfortable. Some docs just don't understand what it is like to live with pain day after day and will not prescribe high doses of pain meds. No one should have to live above a 5 on the pain scale day after day. Fight for your rights.
*obtain a good psychologist who is familiar with chronic pain
*try not to talk about all this with your friends and family. They don't get it and can't begin to relate. Talk to other chronic pain individuals and the psychologist.
*consider going on anti-depressants. I did not realize I was depressed and going on these medications was the best thing I did. It allowed me to let some of the anger/emotions just roll off my shoulders so that I could keep things together for my children.

I hope I have not upset/scared you. It was not my intent. Also please realize that you are not that far out from surgery and they did have to cut your muscles to get in and remove the hardware. They also have to chisel and drill out the screws and rods. This is painful. This alone will take up to 12 weeks to recover from. Just be super careful and don't lift, twist or bend. Take it really easy and let yourself recover.

Hang on to hope dear and know that I am here for you and will subscribe to this thread so I will be alerted if you post on this thread. Good luck and I just said a prayer for you.

P.S. Go to your family doctor and have them check your thyroid levels. After my surgery last year 2007, I developed thyroid problems and guess what it increased my leg pain significantly. When I went on thyroid problems, part of the pain went away. Just have it checked in case. These spinal surgeries are very long and hard on our bodies systems.[/QUOTE]

 
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