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Removal Of cervical titanium plate

sunshine 2009ssunshine 2009 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi :H I'm 35 years old female. I had surgery on c4,c5,c6 fusion with titanium plate in June 2006, Without any relief only for the first few months.I would get a feeling of something poking me in the front of my neck every now and then at first, then it turned into a stabbing pain. I told my surgeon about it he said your scar is healed, looks fine. So last Year August 2008 I started having spasm in the front of my neck it felt like i was being strangled. Now any time I cough, yawn, any sudden movement and sneezing, I get unbearable pain i can't even move while I'm having these spasm it makes it tighten up even more. I want to know has this happen to anyone else? Did anyone have this kind of surgery? I'm having the surgery to remove it may 1st, because the scar tissue is getting hooked on the plate. Thank you for your help.


  • I do have the titanium plate with screws and rods. I was told that it could never be removed. Is the surgeon who did your surgery removing the hardware? I have not had any problems that I know of. I do have a choking feeling at times and it could be scar tissue. I go back to my surgeon next week and will ask him again about hardware being removed.

  • Welcome to spine-health. Exactly some of the issues you are describing sound plate related. I had one of my plates removed in January and it stopped some of that. Have you had a swallow test done? The swallow tissue clearly identified the plate was into my esophagus. Removing the plate was a rather easy surgery for myself. It would depend on how much bone has grown around the plate as to the ease of the surgery. Is the same surgeon who put it in removing the plate? Good luck and keep us posted on how you do.
  • i had c-4-5-6 fused in 1990 (anterior/trauma). In 2000 the plate and screws were removed and c-7 was added using a new plate and screws, due to ddd. Will your insurance cover removal? I have recently had c-3 added to the rest. I'm 49, male..
  • Thank you all for your comments about cervical plate removal. Marty yes my insurance will cover the surgery it's workers compensation it sure took along time to get it approved, I had to see their insurance doctor first in order for them to agree to cover it. Tamtam yes the same surgeon is removing it he also going to have the ears,nose and throat doctor working with him. No I didn't have a swallow test. My x ray show my air way is very narrow and I seen the ear,nose and throat doctor who agree that the scar tissue was getting hooked on the plate. Tamtam how long did your surgery take? Shar51 maybe because you have a rod in there i don't know much about that or maybe because your neck was broken. You should have been to the doctor by now what did he say? Well I have 10 days left before my surgery, hopefully it will correct the problem. Thanks again. I will keep you all posted. God Bless. :H
  • Thank you for your help. How long did you have your plate in before it was removed? How long did your surgery take? No I didn't have a swallow test. The doctor could through the x rays my air way was narrowing and he sent me to the ears, nose and throat doctor and he agreed the plate should be removed. Yes the same doctor is removing the plate and the ear, nose throat doctor is working with him. Six more days till my surgery. Thanks again
  • Yes I am Fused!!! Went a little over a week ago and he took several xrays and I am fused. All in all it was a great visit. Now he is working on my L4L5 that has been giving me trouble for about 2 years. I went yesterday for an epidural, seems I have narrowing and bone spurs, bone spur is pressing on a nerve which is causing my leg pain. I ask him about more surgery on my neck and he said only if the levels below start breaking down and it would be from the front and not the back of my neck like the last surgery. That brought some relief.

  • Hi Sunshine,

    Actually i have had several types of hardware put in and taken out for different reason. But last plate was put in in June of 08 and removed in January of 09. Surgery was little less than a hour. Recovery is not as hard as it is when they put it in. It may take sometime for those problems to resolve but they will over time if that was the cause of them. If you still have issues at two months out I would recommend getting a swallow test. Good luck and let us know how you do
  • Thank you for your comments, it's good to know everything went great for you at the doctor. I am tired of surgery. My C7 is degenerative the doctor wanted to take that out put some type of ball in their when he removes the plate but i said I don't think so, the first surgery didn't help, well only for a very short time, but i do have less spasms in the back of my neck. I think because the nerve damage had set in for 3 years before i had the surgery and working added insult to injury. Actually my pain is worst now, the numbness, tingling, burning pain, shoulder blades sometime feel dislocated, loss of feeling in arms and hand at times and constant headaches . I also think i have something going on with my lumbar, I get numbness from the knees down to my toes, sometime my legs give out. My other doctor did a x ray but didn't see anything, I knew that was going to happen. I don't see why they waste there time with those x rays. Next time i am going to request a MRI. I am still going to keep the faith and trust in God and hold on. It will get greater later. Thanks again. God bless.
  • How long were you in for your posterior cervical fusion? and did they have you on a ventilator breathing for you for a couple days???
  • I'm Pleased to tell everyone one the surgery went great. I know longer feel like I'm being strangle to death no more spasm in the front of my neck and it's been almost 6 months that is one less pain i have to worry about. God bless.
  • Very cool, very cool indeed. Glad that it worked out for you and that the horrible feeling of being strangled is gone.

  • I had a antierior cervical fusion March of 2011 and have been feeling as if something is hung or caught in my throat, after having a CT with contrast, and a swallow test, they have come to a conclusion that the plate although creating a bulbous retention in my esophogus, isn't enough to warrent taking out the plate. I'm down and out about it because they don't have to deal with it day to day. I have C4-C6 fused and of the three screws holding the plate the bottom two have backed out about 4 mm, according to the surgeon. Here I am a year later and still feeling discomfort, shoulder blade pain, left arm pain and numbness, as well as pain in my neck and headaches. I take 1000mg of anti inflamatory daily as well as pain meds and flexeril. Now because of all the meds I also am having problems with reflux. I have had some releif from the original pain since surgery, but I had to wait 2 years for approval because of worker's comp. red tape. Because the nerve was pinched for so long, I'm still waiting on the day to come that the pain stops, but it hasn't yet. I can't do day to day activites without being in pain that night or even the next day. For example, yesterday I weeded my flower bed for about 10 min. then transplanted a few plants, all in all about 30 min of work. Today I woke up in pain and out of commission for most of the day today. I'm sorry to vent but just need to know there's hope. I want this thing out and aware that it won't take all the pain away. I just want a little less to deal with.
  • I am having that same promblem..I had 4,5 and 6 done also. this thing is blocking my air way when i yarn or sometimes when i just swallow.What do thet do to you on a swallow test? This stuff is really freaking me out.
  • Positive news for all of you considering removal of titanium plate after cervical fusion:

    I had cervical fusion c4/c5 with dissectomy in August 2011. Then days post surgery the horror started, choking feelings 24/7. It was a horrible time, until I finally decided to have the plate and screws removed on June 4th, 2013. I was so afraid for this surgery. But immediately after removal of the material, I felt relieved the horrible feeling is gone. I feel there is much more space to breath and swallow. Although it was painful, its getting better day by day, and now I believe I made the right decision. So glad the horrible thing is removed (and it looked much bigger than I ever expected). Good luck to all of you having this problem, it's worth to do it! I'm happy that I had it done.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    edited 06/16/2013 - 9:31 PM
    I also had my plate removed due to backing out and in risk of puncturing my esophagus. Along with numerous broken screws. I did not fuse correctly so after the hardware was removed all the fusions were broken out and redone The plate came out easy it was the other part of the surgery that was horrible. The worst recovery I had.
  • dchendrix1ddchendrix1 Posts: 1
    edited 08/04/2015 - 8:23 AM
    I just had the C6-C7 done and the titanium plate put in along with the screws less than two weeks ago. I am already having trouble swallowing and I can feel that thing poking the front of my neck. If I move all of a sudden the wrong way my neck feels like it is going to snap and I can feel the plate pulling like it is going to pull apart. Is this common symptoms of the recovery that others have experienced? I go see my surgeon for a followup and another MRI of my Cervical Spine on 8/27 and I plan on telling him about this but I am sure he will brush it off. And the pain I was having before the surgery has increased. Now I have pains starting up that are so intense they bring tears to my eyes.

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