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Old 07-05-2009, 05:18 PM   #1
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Exclamation Spinal Hardware Removal

Has anyone had there fusion hardware removed after being fused?
I had L4-S1 fused with two rods and 8 screws (6 in back of spine, 2 in the front of spine). Well of lately I have been in alot of pain from my hardware (9-10 on pain scale) with no help in sight. I have had a series of injections done, anti-inflammatory drugs with no results. My MRI showed a slight disc bulge just at level L5, but 95% of the pain is at the hardware sight. So has anyone been through hardware removal and what is the recovery time? If you were cut in the front and back does the same has to be done again. Any answers would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks Toni

Xrays, MRI's, discogram, electrogram, SI injections, P.T., Hardware injections, C.T., 360 spinal fusion @L4-S1

 
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Old 07-05-2009, 09:36 PM   #2
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Re: Spinal Hardware Removal

I recently consulted with an Orthopedic Spine Surgeon about possibility of removal of the hardware. My hardware was installed in 1993 and is HUGE by today's standards. He said my symptoms may actually be at the level above the fusion (so at the L3-L4 level). From what the surgeon said removal of hardware for pain relief is totally "hit or miss" unless you can see on MRI/CT that there is definitive nerve impingement from the hardware or something similar. Right now I'm doing PT and may do a lumbar RFA (ablation of the nerves) to see if that helps. From the way he's talking he'll only take out the hardware as a last resort or if he has to fuse another level.
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Old 07-06-2009, 08:33 AM   #3
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Re: Spinal Hardware Removal

I had just one of my hooks and part of a rod removed, as the hook was protruding through my back. The skin hadn't broken, but it was very painful to lean on. Recovery was about 6-8 weeks. It was certainly much easier than the fusion surgery, but the hardware has to be wrenched free from the surrounding bone and tissue. It will cause significant trauma, so it's not going to be just a matter of the incision healing.

I don't know if they'll have to go in through both front and back. Maybe not all of your hardware would need to be removed. If they can identify the pieces that are causing your pain, maybe they can take out only that much. Like SpineAZ said, hardware removal is usually done only as a last resort.

Wishing you the best,
Emily

 
Old 07-08-2009, 07:46 PM   #4
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Re: Spinal Hardware Removal

Hi Emily,
Thanks for your response. Well I went back to the dr today and because the hardware injections only lasted a couple of days. He is now sending me back to my surgeon who did my fusion in 05. I guess we will discuss possible hardware removal. Like you I hurt right where my hardware is placed. It hurts to lie on my back, to stand against something, when I walk, sit, and on and on. So who long did you have to stay in the hospital and what was your recovery at home like? I do thank you for you help with this. I am just ready for so MUCH NEEDED PAIN RELIEF!!! Right now, nothing helps. I was also told about doing a spinal cord stimulator. I don't think I want to go down that road.
Thanks,
Toni

 
Old 07-10-2009, 08:31 AM   #5
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Re: Spinal Hardware Removal

When I had my first hardware removal many years ago, two long harrington rods, I was in the hospital for a couple of days. I was young and recovery was pretty quick.

This last hardware removal was, like I said, only the one hook and part of a rod. They clipped off part of the rod so there wouldn't be any issues from the tip of it not being connected anymore. It was done as an outpatient. I thought it would be a quick and easy recovery, just basically healing from the surgical site, so I got back into things in about a week. But I was hurting like crazy! When I saw my doctor for followup a few weeks later, he told me I was overdoing it. He said getting that hook out of the bone caused a lot of tissue trauma. For me, it also irritated some nerves and I had severe hip pain for several months. Once he told me I needed to heal from more than just the surgical site, I slowed down and made myself rest more. It took about 2 months for a full recovery, except for the nerve irritation. Nerves take a long time to calm down. That took about 6 or 8 months.

If you're fully fused, hardware removal shouldn't be a problem. It'll just be a pain in the neck to go through, but once it's over and you've recovered, maybe your pain will be gone! That'll be worth it!

Blessings,
Emily

 
Old 07-11-2009, 11:22 PM   #6
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Re: Spinal Hardware Removal

Hi Emily,
Well I found out on Friday 11th that my hardware does need to come out. To hear that was a great weight lifted off of me. Because I knew I wasn't crazy or my pain was all in my head. Trust me the PAIN is very real. My surgery is schedule for Aug. 5. I know I will be in pain for a while but in the end the results will be much better than what I started with. Do you still have to get scaitic nerve injection from time to time? I am glad you had good results and I am praying for the same thing. Thank you again for your reply, it's good to know that I am not alone with these medical issues.
Prayfully Toni

Last edited by toni703; 07-11-2009 at 11:24 PM.

 
Old 07-28-2009, 07:10 PM   #7
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Smile Re: Spinal Hardware Removal

I just saw your post about your hardware removal surgery. It was great reading it. I know exactly what you are going through. I will be having my hardware (6 screws & 2 rods) removed on Aug 19. I will pray that your surgery goes well. I am also praying for both of us that this will give us some much needed relief.

 
Old 11-13-2009, 04:08 AM   #8
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Re: Spinal Hardware Removal

[QUOTE=tonigoodman73;4029835]Has anyone had there fusion hardware removed after being fused?
I had L4-S1 fused with two rods and 8 screws (6 in back of spine, 2 in the front of spine). Well of lately I have been in alot of pain from my hardware (9-10 on pain scale) with no help in sight. I have had a series of injections done, anti-inflammatory drugs with no results. My MRI showed a slight disc bulge just at level L5, but 95% of the pain is at the hardware sight. So has anyone been through hardware removal and what is the recovery time? If you were cut in the front and back does the same has to be done again. Any answers would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks Toni

Xrays, MRI's, discogram, electrogram, SI injections, P.T., Hardware injections, C.T., 360 spinal fusion @L4-S1[/QUOTE]

 
Old 11-13-2009, 04:12 AM   #9
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Re: Spinal Hardware Removal

I had hardware removed few years ago and my spinal cord was punctured so spinal fluid leaked and I had to stay in hospital until it replenished itself with me having to lay flat on back. But was not too bad. Now I recently had to have spinal stimulator removed and in pain but better than when it was put in. Hope you luck in whatever you have to go through surgically.

 
Old 11-24-2009, 07:26 PM   #10
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Re: Spinal Hardware Removal

[QUOTE=tonigoodman73;4029835]Has anyone had there fusion hardware removed after being fused?
I had L4-S1 fused with two rods and 8 screws (6 in back of spine, 2 in the front of spine). Well of lately I have been in alot of pain from my hardware (9-10 on pain scale) with no help in sight. I have had a series of injections done, anti-inflammatory drugs with no results. My MRI showed a slight disc bulge just at level L5, but 95% of the pain is at the hardware sight. So has anyone been through hardware removal and what is the recovery time? If you were cut in the front and back does the same has to be done again. Any answers would greatly be appreciated.

Thanks Toni

Xrays, MRI's, discogram, electrogram, SI injections, P.T., Hardware injections, C.T., 360 spinal fusion @L4-S1[/QUOTE]

 
Old 11-24-2009, 07:39 PM   #11
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Re: Spinal Hardware Removal

I'm new to this post but glad I'm here. 5 yrs ago I had revision surgery for my scoli. I had no choice but to have the herrington rod removed and replaced with two rods and screws, the plus side I can walk the down side is all the pain I feel from the rods. I go to my surgeon tomorrow for I think my last follow up and am going to insist to have the hardware removed, can't believe I'm going to be in more pain then I am now. I don't know if anyone can relate to what I describe as feeling like 300# sitting on my lower back as long as I don't move I have no pain. At any rate most of what I have read is leaning toward much less pain. Any comments.

p

 
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