I had this done 2 yrs ago because I thought it was causing the pain and the 2nd opinion doctor said it was a fairly simple operation and that the hardware was totally useless once the fusion was solid ( which it was ). I ended up going back to my surgeon and begged him to remove the screws and rods, even though he didn't think it would work. He did it for me. In the end, he was right-- it didn't work. I shouldn't have listened to the 2nd opinion doctor. I'll probably regret this for the rest of my life. Anyhow, they're out now and the fusion is still solid so what could be causing this severe pain? After 4 different spine surgeon consults, no one can tell me. They just call it failed back surgery syndrome. Their suggestion-- live with it or try a spinal cord stimulator / morphine pump / biacuplasty. I have to try something-- I'll do the biacuplasty 1st since this sounds the least invasive. Any thoughts? One thing I can tell you. I live with regret everyday,wishing I never let anyone touch my back in the 1st place. It's the toughest thing, living with regret. You feel you ruined your life because you've been basically told you'll likely be living with chronic pain your whole life. Sorry to be such a downer but it's extremely hard getting thru each day with this pain. Anger, frustration, suicidal levels of depression often consume you. I pray for someone to REALLY help me and I try my best to make myself better but either one is happening. I feel like I'm in a prison of pain, a life sentence, with no escape.