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lovinrockin 09-27-2004 12:25 PM

Screw removal post-lumbar fusion
I'm going to have my 2 screws removed from my 360 L5-S1 lumbar fusion i had in december. I have an appt. with my surgeon in houston in november but I would like some more info before I go in, i'm very curious. If any one knows:
About how long it takes to remove them
How long will I be in the hospital, estimate
What the recovery is like
Limitations after removal

It'd be great to have those answered and not have to call up there and get the run around because it is hard to get ahold of the doc. I want to know before I get there so that I have an idea of what I'm getting myself into.
The screws definitely need to be taken out he said, because you can actually almost see them poking out and can definitely feel them, and they pinch and hurt.

Reply if you can :-)

~*Stephie*~ :angel:

cajunqueen8868 09-27-2004 12:57 PM

Re: Screw removal post-lumbar fusion
Hi Stephie,

I dont post very often but I thought I would give you a quick rundown on my screw removal. My first surgery was 2 yrs ago on Thanksgiving! I had a fusion at L5-S1 and cage with pedicle screws. I always have been able to feel the screws in my back making it uncomfortable to sit against anything hard. I continued to have leg pain and numbness over the next 9 months and had another Orthopedic surgeon tell me that I had compression at L4-L5 and that he wanted to do a laminectomy at that level and remove my hardware as it is no longer useful since the fusion is solid. I am happy I had them removed! It was a fairly easy surgery, MUCH better than when they went in! I was only in the hospital for 24 hours, no catheter, and about a 1 hr. surgery. The pain level was fairly moderate but better with the percocet and then vicodin. Although I have other major problems going on back there I am very pleased with the outcome of having them removed. Be sure to ask the surgeon to keep your hardware for you...I have mine in a frame on my desk at work to remind the guys I work with to quit whining!
Good Luck and dont worry....the recovery is much easier than when he put them in!

;) Diahn

travitch 09-27-2004 01:36 PM

Re: Screw removal post-lumbar fusion
Well It wasn't in my back. I had a plate and six screws put into my right arm when I was in the US Navy that was pretty much shattered when I was 18 or 19 I can't remember now it was so long ago. It was a pretty messy surgery when they put the hardware in as there a about a 1/4" of bone fragments that were removed (like crushed egg shell the surgeon told me). This was really agonizing. The fracture didn't still hadn't healed after five or six months and we were talking bone graft. The doc to me out of the cast and sent me to PT. In two weeks the PT tech managed to rip the screws that went through the plate out of the bone. Needless to say I do not hold PT in high regard at all. Doc put me back into surgery and popped the crews back through the bone under anesthesia. Good thing was that this trauma started the bones knitting and they were mended together after about 8 weeks. So, I didn't have to learn to walk all over again with my buddies down in PT.

About a year and a half or two years after I had this hardware removed by the VA. I did ask the doc before the operation if he would use the same incision and of course he chose a new one to minimize the incision I guess. Anyway, I don't think I even spent the night over in the hospital for this. I seemed a heck of a lot less painful taking it out than when they put it in. I suppose that this is because they weren't running a drill through my bone before screw in the metal.

I don't know if that helps but I would think this will be like a walk in the park compared to when you acquired these.

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