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Metal plates and screws in my forearm - PLEASE HELP

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Old 06-01-2010, 01:46 PM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 9
Falconator HB User
Metal plates and screws in my forearm - PLEASE HELP

A little over 4 years ago, I broke my forearm playing a sport. I had to get metal plates and screws put in my ulna and radius.

I am debating on whether I should have them removed or not. I enjoy weight lifting and I feel as if the metal hardware is pushing me back from my potential. I've been weight lifting for a few months now and I noticed that it feels a little uncomfortable when I'm doing most exercises. It even feels painful to a certain extent when I'm doing work outs that target the forearm muscles such as curls and reverse curls. I also noticed that I can't lift as much with the arm that has the hardware so I don't know if the metal plates and screws cause a conflict for my forearm to develop proper muscles or not.

There is also the fact that it's theoretically easier to break your arm if it has metal hardware. The plates could cut the bone at the edge if you have an accident. I even had an experience that proved this theory because I once had a decent fall about 6-8 months after the first time I broke my arm and I ended up snapping my bone right at the part where the edge of the metal plate is. I realize that removal of the hardware will make my bones even more vulnerable to fractures since they would be weak from the screw holes left behind but this is temporary. The bones would heal well eventually especially since I'm a young guy who's almost 20 years old.

Now there are some negative points that are making me hesitant in having the removal done. For one, it's going to be hard to convince my doctor to have it done since I hear doctors are pretty hesitant of doing such a procedure. Also, since the procedure is deemed as unnecessary by most doctors, I don't know if my health insurance will cover it. There's also all the risks of being under full anesthesia open surgery such as infection and respiratory problems. I'm one of those guys who is not a fan of surgery and I always try to avoid it so this kind of thing scares me. I've also heard that it would be a complicated surgery because the tissue would have grown around the metal hardware and thus making it difficult to remove it since I've had it in my arm for a couple of years now.

I really don't know what to do and I need advice. If you have any experiences with metal hardware for orthopedic purposes then please share them. It's difficult to find others who have metal hardware on the Internet. Also, does anyone know of any athletes that have metal hardware and still continue to play their sports?

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Old 06-02-2010, 04:59 PM   #2
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Re: Metal plates and screws in my forearm - PLEASE HELP

Your biggest problem is going to be getting your insurance company to pay for what they will see as unnecessary surgery. It may be impinging on your ability to get as fit as you want but they will put that up against the risk of anesthesia, blood loss, possible infection and all the other bad things can happen during surgery.

And you'll have a hard time finding an ortho to do it too. I'm hearing lots of stories about orthos refusing to remove old hardware even when there is a problem. They see the risk of doing something wrong and getting sued over a surgery that really is not necessary.

So before you make any decisions as to whether you want to do it, ask your insurance carrier what their criteria are for hardware removal. They may only do it in cases of suspected infection(I may be facing that scenario myself...infection). If they say they'll do it, then ask your doc for his/her advice and if they will do it or not.

Of course if you have the money to pay in cash, then your all set and just have to offer to wave any liability to your doc and hospital and you're golden.

good luck................Jenny

Old 03-18-2015, 12:11 PM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: San Dimas, CA USA
Posts: 1
mystyllyne HB User
Re: Metal plates and screws in my forearm - PLEASE HELP

My daughter was scheduled to have the plate and screws removed from her arm tomorrow. Yesterday at her pre-op, the Dr said he was refusing to do the surgery because the complications were too high, and the plate and screws have only been in 2 years. He said that he would have to chisel away bone that had already grown over the plate to get to it, then, after taking the screws out, she would be left with a bone that would basically be swiss cheese. He said, yes, the bone would grow back, but it could take up to a year to fully heal (she's 9!, their bones are supposed to grow faster!!). He also said, the holes that would fill in would always be weak points in her arm, and would have the same risk of breaking as it would with the edge of the plate. His biggest reason for not wanting to take out the hardware though was the potential for nerve damage. He said that there is a major nerve that lays across that bone, and if it doesn't heal right, not only could she loose feeling in it, but she could be permanently paralyzed in that arm. These are definitely things to consider when thinking about this surgery.

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