Re: What to expect of Harrington Rod Removal surgery
I had Harrington rods placed in 1977 and removed a year or so later. The doctors back then said if I were ever in an accident, it would be harder on me with all that metal in my back. I think, in retrospect, that the teaching hospital wanted their surgical residents to get some practice on me. My current surgeon, the best in the world, has told me that I would have been better off today if they hadn't done that. That's a long story. I had a second major fusion 6 years ago. One piece of the hardware projected through my crazy back (another long story, and not the surgeon's fault), and needed to be removed. Both hardware removals resulted in some issues. The first, the Harrington rods, resulted in an apparently nicked nerve. I had a completely numb spot on my back about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. It took quite some time, 7 or 8 years, but the nerve healed and I slowly got back complete feeling. The second removal resulted in nerve irritation into one hip and partly down that leg. It took a few months for that to settle down.
Hardware removal surgery is rough because the hardware is embedded in the bone and has to be wrenched free. That's going to cause some tissue trauma. It may seem like a minor surgery compared to the fusion, but it's still going to take some serious recovery time. It IS a lot easier than the fusion, but you'll need to listen to your body and get a lot of extra rest so you can heal. I have no regrets, at least not with this last one. The first one was maybe not necessary; I'm not sure. But if it's important that you have this done, just be aware that you'll need to allow yourself time to heal. There are very good reasons to undergo the procedure, and that's between you and your doctor.
I hope this helps.