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Cost of back surgery metal used

wally2wwally2 Posts: 75
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
If someone has metal in them from surgery (s), what happens to it when we eventually pass on? I wonder if a spouse or family member could take it to a scrap metal yard and pay for the funeral. LOL


  • My "instrumentation" cost $87,000 I should hope so!

    (P.S. I hope that others are not offended and find the humor in this post)

    One Love,

  • You think like I do. I ask some of the weirdest questions. That was pretty funny. I wonder if my husband would like my cage, plate and screws =)) Mine looks like those plastic things they put in the middle of pizzas to keep the box from hitting the top of the pizza. My son calls them pizza tables and he said that's what mine looks like because I got a copy of my xray and showed my kids. He said "Hey it looks like they put a pizza table in your back". =)) Maybe they would like to display this on the mantel after my passing :D
  • I also hope others know I wouldn't offend anyone intentionally, Just that some humor can go a long way, Besides, I'm a little wacky anyways, too many pain meds.
  • Hmm ... so now we suggest harvesting the dead for scrap metal. Sounds so "post WWII" ish, not to mention ghoulish.
  • mine must have cost 90.0000

    downinmyheart. i also have the burning hip pain, first on the left side now on the right m=y knees kill me at times.
    my butt is always in pain,, it has been getting worse.

    soon i will have my revision of my first surgery. with the doc going. another level higher,, excited nervous scared at the same time but this is something i have to do.
    i hope you get sum relief for your pain
  • Let's not forget here C that I have kids to take care of. Oh and my grandson who will outlive us all. $4,800 for 4 tiny screws and a two inch plate. WOW I'm glad I didn't have to have back surgery!
  • So since two of my 2,000 dollar a piece screws are broken, he won't get as much anymore. I think at that price, there should be a warranty on the screws and I should be able to collect something for them not lasting a year. I wonder how long until the others break? Oh well, fusion completed so only my hubby losses potential income. :)
  • We've both suggested that after our passing they are free to remove our hardware sell it and have a big party on us. <:P She has lumbar and I had cervical surgery so that combined should at least pay for a trip to Florida for our adorable grown children.
    Wally please. We need humor around here sometimes. I'm glad you started this because after I pulled my bill back out I was SHOCKED and then you made me smile. So thanks for the smiles this evening. I needed that. :)
  • Does anybody ever wonder what cremation parlors do with all the expensive metal parts since they obviously don't include them in the ashes?

    Maybe thats why you hardly ever see the jaguars and Ferrari's parked outside the funeral homes.
  • What is the going price of scrap titanium? Maybe a new business venture for someone?
  • I had the misfortune to carry out some work at a crematorium.

    The head cremator showed me a few grissly items including a container full of retreived metals, whole knee and shoulder joints and screws etc. He kept them to show people.
    Strange dude!

    Ironman. :S
  • Yo

    When my mom passed on my sister got my mom's pace maker.

    She is certified weird.

  • Sorry to disappoint you all.......but the raw cost of surgical titanium (Ti-6AL-4V) is low, so the scrap costs will be even lower. For example a 3" long piece of 0.245 inch Ti-6AL-4V rod, suitable to make one lumbar pedicle screw is less than US$1. Go figure where the cost comes in - research, machining, marketing, etc.

    So, at that rate, the cost of the titanium required for my L5-S1 lumber fusion (4 pedicle screws and two rods) is less than $20. However I was charged $4,700 for those pieces of hardware. I had them removed and they are now sitting in a jar at home - now that I know the cost of titanium I guess it wont be worth selling it as scrap. Maybe I can find a future patient who is interested in buying a used set of fusion hardware at half price?
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • I am so disappointed at your mini research. My 4 screws, plate and cage cost 28,000 dollars. Boy did someone make a ton of money off of these parts. Now I am wondering since 2 of mine broke could they have been made from recycled titanium?
    After finding out the cost I told my surgeon he should have just stopped at Lowe's or Home Depot and bought four for a couple of dollars. He said he has already needed a specialized tool and went there to find something that would work and then had is autoclaved before a surgery.
  • How about auctioning it off on Ebay? I'll bet a surgeon will buy it and use it on someone else.
  • eBay could be the way to go...lol You're all so funny, in the light of what we have all been through =))
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • My hardware cost $19,000 (4 screws, 2 rods, 1 cage, and cross-bar). My hospital only marks up hardware 5% because it is already so expensive, they can't recoop any more of the cost. Ahhh, too bad it depreciates so fast once they install it in us ;)
  • Hey Cali-Sue! Your $$$ x-ray looks just like mine, even at same level, w/ same number of pieces of hardware & where they are--we could save some $$ on future x-rays! :) LOL about it depreciating once installed in us...!

    Yes, I too often wonder just who makes the "profit" on this stuff...certainly not US, huh! My hardware, atho doing a nice job of helping me fuse& keeping me stable, etc. just kills me, pain-wise....I can even SEE it (I'm really thin)..but so long as it stays where it's supposed to & does its job, the $27,000they charged my insurance co is (so far) well-spent...so far...(I say that cautiously)

    Less than $1, actual cost?! May take a trip to local Menards in case something gets loose...the "do-it-yourself" repair job...

    Happy new 2009 to all ! May this be a better year for everyone!


  • When I get weighed in at the doctor's office, I have the nurse deduct 2 pounds for my titanium knee replacement, and 3 pounds for the 10 screws, plates and rods in my back. Now if I could just convince her I have a 10 pound titanium plate in my fat ass all would be right with the world.

    Emergency surgery in March of 2006 for spinal infection of L 2 and L 3. During surgery, discovered I had Cauda Equina Syndrome. Spine became unstable after surgery and had 360 fusion with 10 pedicle screws, plates and rods in April of 2007.
  • So you're saying my kids couldn't even have a nice dinner. Why'd you go and bring me down like that? :''(
  • Dick, you are tooo funny! :))(

    Seriously, I do wonder how much my stuff weighs...can't be much for a 1-level job...would guess about a pound or pound & half? Anyone know? (My doc is always after me to GAIN weight! So can I count that towards my goal of adding a few pounds?) And isn't titanium a rather light-weight metal? Just wondering.

  • =)) That was too funny!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • You guys are so funny! I have a bag from my daughters surgery. She had a complete compound tib/fib fracture with two 10 inch intermedullary titanium rods holding her bones together. They became infected and needed to be removed at 6 weeks. The hospitals policy is that you cant get these things back because they are considered a biohazard, but her doctor wanted to make her happy (she was 8 and had a huge crush on him, I agree he was really cute!). He snagged them before they went in the trash. The insurance was billed $2700 each for these things!

  • =))

    But! Titanium is very light. It doesn't weigh much of anything. :|

    One Love,

  • When they took out my titanium rods and 12 screws in July, they gave them to us in a jar. They look like 2" drywall screws!
    My husband (always the comedian) said he will make a wind chime out of them!
  • Hey Lakeside, do you have the Zimmer ST360? That is what mine is and it cracks me up cause the metal is colored. I don't know what color mine is, but I hope it is pink :) Perhaps I can borrow your xray for my February appointment, so I will be more fused for sure, and he will give the okay for me to take Ibuprofen =)) Just kidding! He told me I could take it after 3 months, then at my 16 week appt he said try to avoid it. Being wishy-washy 8}

    Now Dick, I do not think your hardware weighs any where near that much =)) Good try though, I might try that myself!

    I know a guy who is a sales rep for artificial hips and he is making 6 figures. He does not even have a degree, just a certificate in orthopedic technology. Come to think of it, nurses sometimes become sales reps. Perhaps I should look into a career with Zimmer selling spine implants. I would come to the market with first hand experience :))(
  • My suggestion is let's donate our spare titanium parts (when we are dead we won't need them, right?) to an artist who should create a sculpture in our honor.
    This way, we will live forever!

  • I like that idea! Maybe a museum quality piece perhaps. =))
    Oh my friend brought up a good point. Should I ever disappear and all that can be found of me is my bones and plate at least I can be positively identified since I now come with a serial number. Is that true? Geez. Like I don't have enough numbers to memorize. I can barely remember where I put my car keys most days. (Probably shouldn't drive on those days so just please try your best to avoid me but I promise I'm not impaired.) :)
  • ...Not trying to scare anyone before their surgery, but here are photos of my lumbar fusion hardware.

    image image


    As you can see, the longest is 2.5 inches.

    I have temporarily mounted them in that perspex box, but I have bought some round perspex tube and clear casting resin. I intend to make a couple of clear round vertebrae and cast the screws in, all fully assembled. Then I have a paperweight for my desk.
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

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