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  • Hardware Removal from previous ACDF surgery

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    Old 07-30-2011, 11:49 AM   #1
    Cowpin8
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    Hardware Removal from previous ACDF surgery

    I had an ACDF of the C5/6/7 levels in 2005. The surgery was a complete success. I was recently diagnosed with a C7/T1 severe left sided disc herniation. I am going to have surgery in 3 weeks to fix this herniation. My Neurosurgeon said he must remove the hardware that is already in my neck from my previous neck surgery. He is then going to remove my C7/T1 disc and fuse them together and put a plate in.
    My question is this. Has anyone had hardware removed from their neck, and if so, why and how did it feel afterwards? Is there any problems with removing the hardware?
    Thank You.

     
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    Old 07-31-2011, 07:14 PM   #2
    jennybyc
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    Re: Hardware Removal from previous ACDF surgery

    Your fusion is complete so removing the hardware should not have any effect at all. In fact, removing the hardware will make the fusion even stronger and for that reason, they used to routinely remove hardware. Now, with the cost and possible side effects of additional surgery, they rarely do it except when they have to in order to do another fusion and the existing hardware will be in the way.

    Anyone with a hip or knee replacement knows that within a short period of time, the bone behind the implant starts to weaken. the metal is so strong that the bone doesn't have to be that strong and so it leaches out calcium and sooner or later, the bone gets soft enough that the implant loosens. Same with necks. The plates and screws actually make the bone soften with time. By removing them, the bone will have more stress on it and that makes it stronger. The newer rods and screws they use for posterior fusions are off the surface of the vertebrae so you have some flexion and it makes for a much stronger fusion.

    So you win both ways...you get a stronger fusion and you get the lower problem fixed!

    Jenny

     
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    Old 08-01-2011, 01:29 AM   #3
    sk84life
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    Re: Hardware Removal from previous ACDF surgery

    Need clarification - is the surgeon going to remove the plate covering the original 3 levels, then put a plate over only the new level or is he going to put a very long plate over all the areas and all from the front?

    If he is doing all this from the front, removing the hardware itself is not the problem as Jen explained, but two surgeries in the front will make recovery more difficult. Although the new level is much lower, you still may experience more pain and muscle spasms post0op as he will be manipulating tissue a second time to get at the original plate.

     
    Old 08-02-2011, 01:51 PM   #4
    Cowpin8
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    Re: Hardware Removal from previous ACDF surgery

    sk84life:
    The surgeon is going to remove my current plate completely and then put a plate over C7/T1. So I will only be left with the new small plate. He also told me that he will be filling the old screw holes with wax. Have you ever heard of that?
    Thanks.

     
    Old 08-02-2011, 02:17 PM   #5
    sk84life
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    Re: Hardware Removal from previous ACDF surgery

    Thanks for the clarification. I've never heard of wax in the holes, but who knows.....
    Still you need to be prepared for issues post-op, as I said before, as he will be going through scar tissue etc. to remove the old plate. Glad to hear he is plating only the new level. Good luck!

     
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