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remove hardware or not

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 51,464
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Chronic Pain
I am so discouraged with doctors at this point - I am at my wits end! I have had 4 surgeries over the past 10 years. I am 40 years old and afraid i am going to end up disabled SOON! My last surgery was 4 years ago I did good up til about a year ago. Now I am in constant pain in my back (my fusion sight) and my left leg is always numb. Saw my last surgeon yesterday and he has no idea said we could take out your hardware and see if that helps. I got the impression from him that he felt I should be fine that there really is no pain. I can't continue to live like this. I am drugged up and still in pain. My husband and kids wonder who I am day to day. Has anyone had success with taking out their hardware? I really need something to work for me here - getting really depressed and desperate....
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Comments

  • I have been where your at several times and just keep working on it.
    I had mine removed but it only helped my comfort when laying down on my back. BUT YOUR situation MAY/probably is different.
    I have a real bad leg muscle shaking problem on my right side that they do not know why it is(of course) They hoped taking out the hardware would help/fix.

    Make sure they have a specialist monitor your brain waves while they remove the hardware to make sure they do not make anything worse.

    If I do not take lots of anti inflamatories I get terrible pain and increased numbness. But make sure you have your liver monitored, I had to cut back recently till my liver recovered and that was no fun.

    Water therapy is the best thing for a lot of back problems, so they say.

    Have you talked about a spinal stimulator? it did not help me but a lot of people swear by them.

    I have just started going to the chiropracter again after 7 yrs and he is using what they call, a pro adjuster.

    I'm seeing a new pain specialist that is young and supposed to be great, so i hope you get some help myself.
  • Your story and mine have so very much in common. I had my hardware removed after my doc said there was no other surgeries to do, so removal HAD to be the answer! It was NOT. Two days after the removal I developed a staph infection requiring 4 months of IV anti-biotics, and yes - the pain was still ever present.

    Now, almost a full three years later of dealing with pain sufficient to actually cause me to think about ending it all, I have finally found two doctors capable of pursuading my insurance company that I am in fact in need of further treatment.

    It all came down to the fact my fusion failed! My surgeon still does not want to admit to it, but the proof is documented. In fact, he should have known himself of this being the case when he removed the hardware. Therein lies the issue - like many surgeons, he didnt actually do the removal himself! His P.A. did the work "under his direct supervision" HA!

    So, now a full four years since I was supposed to be on my way to becoming as pain free as possible, I am now to be re-fused and will need to have additional levels added due to further damage from the non-fusion.

    Do NOT settle for anything less than what make you whole! Belive you me - their are plenty of High and Mighty too proud to admit error docs who will let you go on in pain.

    Best of luck.
  • Hi,

    I too am having problems after various spinal surgeries, 7 over the last 20years.
    My last op was 15months ago. I was fine until about 6months post op when i developed pain and stiffness when i lay down. This has gradually got worse over the months. Now its so bad my surgeon is planning to do an explority operation next month. He is thinking of removing the metalwork or if a screw is lose, to remove it and replace it with a new one. Im not convinced i want a new one to be honest, i think id rather he just removed the lot!
    I get most pain when resting,i get tingling in both legs at night but during the day, my back pain is much better than it was pre-op as i can now walk more.
    Im completely confused and like you at the end of my tether!
    Reading these boards confused me more i think! lol
    I have been reading up on osteoarthritis and am now convinced i have that! But surely that would show up on an x-ray?

    I too have lost faith in the doctors, i think after you have had various surgeries you become less challenging to them.
    I dont think anyone understand how desperate and depresssed we get, especially when noones seems to know whats wrong with us.

    What sort of symptoms are you having?

    Hev



  • had first surgery-fusion L4-5 and after 2 years still had pain . dr said i could have hardware removed but you have to wait 2 years after fusion. this seems to be the measuring stick for removal, 2 years. i had it done and was in hospital for 3 days with morphine pump where you give yourself your own dose. then they put me on oral meds right before i went home. unfortunately it did not seem to help with pain. it felt better to get all of metal out of my back and i had tons of it. dr gave it back to me and it filled up a baggy. now 8 years later and i can walk but not too far and not without tons of pain. if i walk more than 100 yards i have to sit down. it puts a damper on my vacation because we can't go around walking, at disneyland last year i had to get a motorized wheel chair. well back to reality, i am going to ask dr next week if removing latest hardware from my latest fusion will help. i don't think it will, but i am willing to try. so for the most part and from my experiences, hardware removal did not work to a great degree. you need to think it out and explore all the pros and cons. new surgery with a few days in hospital, or will it work or will it get worse. all of these need to be explored by you.
    good luck in your decision
    jon
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I was sent home the same day after I had mine removed. Then my wifes chemotherapy was overdosed for her breast cancer and she was sent 45 minutes away to Carles hospital for 3 days. we have dealt with more than our share of medical negligence.
  • hardware is major surgery. they have to cut open back and remove screws from bones and sew up muscles etc. i would have complained to head of hospital about that one. malpractice? could be
    good luck
    jon
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Thanks for the comments. I don't have any idea what to do. I am seeing another doctor this week for his opinion. My symptoms are the same if not worse prior to my last fusion 6 years ago! I tried telling that to my last surgeon whom I saw several weeks ago and he pretty much told me that isn't possible= your fusion is solid! Well Doc I hate to tell you but I have severe pain in my lower pain and my left leg is numb. I could live with the numbness in my leg but the back pain has got to go. I can't function on a daily basis on pain meds, as I am a mom to 3, and work fulltime. By the time I get home from work I am shot. I know there is something pinched off again, but I am not the doctor. I am beyond frustration with doctors! Very hard functioning on a daily basis - it hurts to sit to long, certainly can't stand and walking feels like the hardware is going to pop out of my back! BUt I am totally fused!!! Who cares......Thanks for letting me vent.
  • Drs siding with workers comp NO MATTER WHAT it does to you. If I had listened to THEIR Dr I would have been in worse shape after the nerve damage found.

    My wifes last 2 mamograms showed a tumor and was told she was clear. She felt a lump 2 weeks after seeing Dr and having a mamogram. The cancer surgeon showed us the mamograms AND WE COULD SEE there was something there.

    Then after her 7 hr surgery after I was finaly let in to her room i could tell she was in a lot of pain. I followed the tube to the morphine pump and IT WAS PUMPING ON THE FLOOR. I was not hooked up to her AT ALL. THEN the nurse got pissy with ME after telling her about it.

    We have never sued anyone, but maybe we should have. that is the only way to get them to change, they obviously have a problem somewhere.
  • Hey Hev,

    I was reading through this post and it was like you were describing me. It is comforting to know that there are others out there like you. I had my two level fusion last April and started having problems AGAIN the following November. Like you, I get home from work and sit/lay down and I go completely stiff and can't move. My famiy has to help me up. Before my fusion surgery, I got relief by laying down. Now, I dread it because I know it is going to hurt. I have gotten to the point that I am back on my pain meds and can't seem to function without them. I told the doctor that I did not like having to depend on pain meds to get me through the day.

    Had a Myelogram April 9th to see what is going on and found two more herniated discs above my last fusion. Doctor says I have a chronic pain disorder and should think about disability. Wow, thanks doc, that give me hope for the future.. ~X(

    Keep me posted on how this exploratory surgery thing works out. I am very curious on what they find.

    Good luck to you all and God Bless!
  • I have hardware in my back. L4 & L5. Also have a lot of back pain and pain in both feet and legs below the knees. I can't imagine having the hardware removed because that would cause more scar tissue causing more pain and problems. Has anyone said that scar tissue could be your problem?
    I just had a trial spinal cord stimulator implant and it worked wonders for me. With the stimulator you trade one sensation(pain) for another sensation(tingling)
    To remove the scar tissue would cause more scar tissue causing more problems so the "stimulator" has been the only answer for me. Without it I will soon be in a wheelchair.
    These are just my thoughts.
    Best of luck to you. I prey you get relief soon from your pain.
    Hugsssssssss >:D<
    Patsy w
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