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Old 03-26-2009, 06:39 AM   #1
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removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

I have had 3 back surgeries including 2 spinal fusions. Last surgery was 2004. I continue to have low back pain, hip pain and nerve pain in my hips and legs. I have had more than 7 epidural injections, 1 nerve root injection, facet blocks, therapy, medication, you name it, I've had it. I am currently seeing a great pain management specialist who suggest removing the hardware from my back to improve the pain. I am also on track for a trial to do the spinal cord stimulator to help with the nerve pain. Has anyone had hardware removed? Any suggestions, comments are very welcomed.

 
Old 03-27-2009, 05:25 AM   #2
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Re: removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

Hi your story sounds very similar to mine. I have had 3 surgeries including an ALIF removing 2 discs and replacing with titanium ones, and fusion. I have had 6 epidural injections, accupunture, PT, trigger point injections, very strong meds and I am still in alot of pain. My pain now is worse than before surgery, I can not sit for more than 15 min without having terrible pain in my butt, going down my leg an into my foot. I use a walker when going out.

I have not had my hardware removed, it has never been suggested by my neurosurgeon to do that, however he does not know why I am still in such pain. I guess since he doesn't know he now says I have reached my medical plateau for medical treatment?????????? What am I supposed to just live the rest of my life in severe pain? This a WC case so now since he has released me I am going to try and get a second opinion but many doctors do not want to see or work on other doctors patients.

The spinal cord stimulator I have heard good and bad things about that, I don't think I want to do that. Look for some threads on the board on that subject.

Well I wish you the best...if you have any info you can share with me I would appreciate it........Marie

 
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Old 03-30-2009, 02:05 PM   #3
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Re: removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

Thanks for responding. I'm a little nervous about the hardware removal but I'm gonna be hopeful. Are you able to work?? Because I can't always work. I'm on Short Term Disability thru my employer right now. I fear that because I've gone on leave so many times, they are about to let me go, even though I've been there almost ten yrs. I have filed a claim thru social security and pray that this goes thru so that I can at least have time to heal and gain strength again and now have to worry about being fired. Same as you, I can't sit for longer than an hr without suffering severe pain and having problems walking after getting up. I feel that people just don't get what your going thru. They say oh yeah my back hurts too, not realizing it's lot more than just a back ache.

 
Old 04-07-2009, 06:43 AM   #4
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Re: removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

Hi - I was layed off from my job in Nov 2006. I was receiving a weekly benefit from my WC insurance company but since I have reached my "medical plateau" they have stopped paying me. My lawyer says I am totally disabled and not able to work, I am waiting for a court date to settle with the insurance company. I have also applied for SS benefits, I have a lawyer for this also, I was turned down twice for SS. They make you see doctors, I had to see a back specialist and an psychotrist. My lawyer has now filed for a court date with the judge which will take up to a year and a half! So I have no income except for my husbands right now. Things are tough..but there is nothing I can do about it, just have to wait.

So have you decided to have your hardware removed? If you do let me know if you feel any different, if the pain goes away. You are so right no one knows the pain we go through each and every day...even the doctors!!!!
My doctor says I should not be in pain since I have had the ALIF surgery...huh what does he know...I am in worse pain now than before surgery I think he doesn't believe me because he does not want to admit that maybe he failed at this surgery on me...it happens...but doctors think they are gods and can do no wrong! I have to stop because I could just go on and on about this.

The good part is now that I have been released from WC I can go get a second opinion using my personal health insurance.

Take care and let me know how your surgery goes..good luck!

Marie

 
Old 04-07-2009, 11:37 AM   #5
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Re: removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

It sounds similar to my husband's case, the surgeries and the WC nigthmare.
He had his hardware removed and he always is in great pain.
He has been going to a pain management Dr. who all of a sudden lost his license from the DEA.
He went through awful withdrawals and I finally got him into another place and they want to do an implant stimulator.
I got him into this other place for medications before this stimulator place and OMG, there were druggies from all parts of the area and that Dr. has the DEA on him too.
My husband is in such great pain I told him it would be best to go to the reputable place because they will help him in the long run better than a glorified drug pusher would who will no doubt lose his license too.
Anyway, he always says he wishes he would have kept the hardware in.
He carries it around with him when he goes to new Drs. so they can see all this metal that was in him so they can understand his pain.
I wish you luck on the WC case.
When they stopped paying my husband all of a sudden once, we went without money for a year and we were treated like criminals the whole process when my husband was the victim.
Those WC people are from another planet.
I wish you luck.

 
Old 04-07-2009, 11:52 AM   #6
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Re: removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

Hi JanieLou -First of all let me tell you how sorry I am to hear about your husband. Its so terrible that he had to go through withdraws because of the PM doctor. I hope he has found a good doctor who can sympathize with the pain he is going through and has him on the meds he needs. I take alot of meds, very strong ones too but I am still in pain. Luckily I have not had any problems with my doctor and my meds.

I also have to say you have said it the best "the WC people are from another planet" ....how true.....

 
Old 04-07-2009, 02:58 PM   #7
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Re: removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

Taking out the hardware is sometimes used as a last resort when they can't figure out any other way to control the pain, or if they can't figure out a reason for the pain. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't. I've had two hardware removals. It didn't really make much difference for me, but for some people, it completely solves their problem. If you're at the end of your rope, it's certainly worth a try! The recovery is nothing like recovery from the fusion surgery!

I wish you the best,
Emily

 
Old 04-07-2009, 04:20 PM   #8
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Re: removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

I've had 3 back surgeries, the first being a fusion and the other two decompressions.
During each of the second two surgeries one part of the hardware was removed just because my back was open and fusion had taken place. However, 2 years later here I am with pain again in my lumbar and legs.

I don't think I'd have surgery just to have the hardware removed, but that's just me.

 
Old 04-07-2009, 05:48 PM   #9
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Re: removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

I have never heard of removing internal hardware....if my husband removed his hardware which is 12 inches and 8 inches he would fall apart....literally. Not to mention that would be major surgery. He also has an internal back stimulator which has proven to be worth all the pain it took to put it in. It has been a year and he is pretty much without pain.

 
Old 04-08-2009, 05:12 AM   #10
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Re: removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

Hi Ann - I don't think that my hardware is able to be removed either. I had 2 disc removed and titanium with BMP inserted with my fusion. So I'm pretty sure it can't come out. I have had 3 surgeries and the stimulator had been sugested to me to try and relieve the pain I am in. I heard good and bad about the stimulator, I chose not to do it. Since I had 3 surgeries I really did not want to have another. I am glad the stimulator worked out for your husband an is pain free.

Marie

 
Old 05-07-2009, 09:07 PM   #11
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Re: removing hardware after lumbar surgery???

My hardware is ancient (1993) and I'm in a position where removal is a potential solution (to at least part of my pain). Also considering a spinal cord stimulator for my cervical pain.
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Rt&Lt thumb arthroplasty 2012 ; RT TKR & Bilat CTS 2011
Fusions: L5-S1 (87), L4-S1 (93), C5-C7 ('06), L3-S1 ('10)
C5-C7 foraminotomy 08

 
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