Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

Notice
All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Will hardware removal help me?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had L2-S1 fusion May 2007 and was walking 1 1/2 miles/day. After I bent over too far I had SI pain and had 2 rounds of injections for that, then one periformis muscle injection without relief. My pain continues to get worse, mostly in my buttocks. The MRI shows that the top fusion doesn't have a spacer in it so when I'm upright the weight pushes it into my spine. In January 2009 I'm to have a spacer put in plus another fusion to stabilize it. I don't understand why I need yet another fusion, why I can't just get the spacer?

Anyway, I was wondering since I was getting back surgery anyway, would my pain be better if I had the old hardware out? I have skin pain in my buttocks and hips and numbness across my back in a 1" swath side to side. Also, my surgeon said many people with the surgery I've had will eventually need hip replacements because the hip joints take so much of the stress. If I had the hardware out, maybe I would be more flexible and put the replacements farther in the future.

Currently I cannot walk a block and cannot be up over 2 hours without lying down. I take Avinza (24 hour morphine) and gabapentin but I really have no life. I cannot even sit upright in a chair and have to eat my food in a recliner.
advertisement

Comments

  • Erdolphin, I am sorry for all the pain and problems you have experienced with your back surgery. Remember we are not Spine surgeons and can only speak from personal experience. The best person to ask would be your surgeon. If you are not content/comfortable with the answers you are getting there, by all means, seek another opinion.

    I am a little confused by what you are saying, what exactly is pushing into your spine, is it a cage or is the vertebrae itself moving into the cord/nerves? If this level has been fused prior, and the doc removes the fusion mass, something would have to replace it. I do not think spacers suffice, but are an adjuct to maintain the disc height while the fusion occurs. Now an artificial disc is sometimes used for this purpose, but with your multiple levels and prior surgery, may not be an option.

    As far as removing hardware, I would think that depends on if you are totally fused yet, or not, at all the other levels. The doc cannot remove the hardware if the fusion is not completely solid. I have been told it can take up to 2 years to occur. If you are completely fused, and the hardware is removed, this should not give you more flexibility. The idea is to fixate the spine into the fused position, the hardware is there to function as a cast until the fusion can be complete.

    I hope you find some answers. I always write down all my questions in a notebook and take it with me to my NS appointments. If you are not comfortable seek another opinion. Are you seeing a pain management doc? I hope you can find some relief soon, take care, Sue
  • after your fusion did you bend too far and hurt yourself? I am about to have a L3-S1 fusion. I'm scared, but realize I can't remain as I am, as the pain is awful and I'm not getting any better, even with gentle PT and lots and lots of pain meds. I didn't know about the hip replacement thing either. I guess I'd best ask my surgeon about that.

    Anyway - best of luck to you. I imagine anything that is placed in your spine but not fused could be a very dangerous item to your spinal cord, should you be involved in a sudden stop in a car, have a sudden fall, etc. Best to ask your doc, but that would be my best guess.

    Linda

    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.

  • "I had L2-S1 fusion May 2007 and was walking 1 1/2 miles/day. After I bent over too far I had SI pain and had 2 rounds of injections for that, then one periformis muscle injection without relief."
    Was this ESI injections or just trigger poinmt injections into the muscle? I have hardware issues and I can tell you that the pain is constant and I have nerve pain going down my legs from it. If I get deep trigger point injections around the location of my screws, I get total relief for about 6 hours of back and leg pain. If you are having hardware related pain, your dr should do hardware injections to see if it gives you relief.

    "My pain continues to get worse, mostly in my buttocks. The MRI shows that the top fusion doesn't have a spacer in it so when I'm upright the weight pushes it into my spine. In January 2009 I'm to have a spacer put in plus another fusion to stabilize it. I don't understand why I need yet another fusion, why I can't just get the spacer?"
    I have no idea what you mean by spacer? do you mean the bone that is usually there in place of the disc? Is the top part fused and complete? Is the dr going to break the fusion, insert the "spacer" and then leave it to fuse over again? If that's the case, you will get new hardware at that site to hold the new fusion in place until the bone fuses completely.

    "Anyway, I was wondering since I was getting back surgery anyway, would my pain be better if I had the old hardware out? I have skin pain in my buttocks and hips and numbness across my back in a 1" swath side to side. Also, my surgeon said many people with the surgery I've had will eventually need hip replacements because the hip joints take so much of the stress. If I had the hardware out, maybe I would be more flexible and put the replacements farther in the future."
    I have never heard of getting hip replacements related to decreased motion from fusion. Also L5-S1 doesn't affect mobility hardly at all and I would not expect that to do anything to make your hips wear out.
    ALso, taking the hardware out does not increase flexibility. the hardware is simply holding the bones in the same place they will be permanently once the fusion is complete. Take the hardware out, the bones are still fused, hence still immobile. If it is pain that keeps you from being flexible, then resolving the pain will help your mobility. If the hardware is causing the pain, then yes you may feel more mobile without it, but it's not coming out until you are completely fused, I can attest to this.

    Ask about hardware injections. If its not the hardware, then it could be nerve irritation, strain, or even another disc.
    -Jenn
Sign In or Register to comment.