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Hardware Out and Feeling Great!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Well, after many long months my hardware has been removed! Had surgery on Thursday and came home Saturday. I feel great! My incisions hurt, but my legs are pain free! I weaned off my Fentanyl patch the week before surgery and am now only taking Norco for postop pain. Other than that I take Celexa at night and that's it! Yes, you heard right... Norco and Celexa and that's it! Hooray!!!!
I could not be happier! Thanks for all the hugs and support-


  • I've wondered how you've done. Good for you!

  • thanks for the congrats. I have overdone today and my incisions are aching, but my legs and hips feel painfree! It's so wonderful... I will post pics of the hardware when I take them.
    ps. where is everyone else who was waiting to get their hardware out?
  • That's great news! It's nice to hear your success story!Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Hi,
    Im due to get my hardware removed on the 11th May.
    There is no evidence of any looseness but surgeon thinks they are irritating the facet joints.
    What symptoms did you have?
    I have chonic pain when i lie down and tingling in my legs.
    Glad you are doing so well and getting relief at last

  • That is great news!! Glad u are feeling better :)

  • Well, as with any surgery there are ups and downs in recovery. It's been an interesting week. the norco gave me severe insomnia so after staying awake for 48 hrs straight I had to argue with my dr to get Dilaudid. then WC wouldn't pay for it for two days so I had no pain meds but Tylenol w/cod and that wasn't covering it. I got huge bloated from anesthesia and thought I was gonna pop, so I was eating gas-X like it was going out of style. Luckily it cleared up after only two days unlike when I had my three surgeries 8/07 and looked 9 months preggo for 3 months! I broke out in hives from the dressing adhesive so i was taking benadryl for a few as well.
    Finally I got the right meds and since then I've just been wiped! I do some stuff around the house for 10-15 minutes and feel like I'm gonna pass out I get so exhausted. and I don't even take my dilaudid during the day either. I don't know why I'm so tired..I felt so much better the day I got home from the hospital. Oh well, I can honestly say, I have NO PAIN in my legs anymore!!!! YIPPEE!!!
    I am so happy about that-
  • Hello jsbadger,
    What do mean by hardware removed? Did this hardware causing you trouble? And how was that diagnosed? What were the symptoms? It is still stable when the hardware is removed?

    Hope to hear from you.

    Regards, Renos.

    45 years male, married, 3 sons, living in Europe. No work possible since 2005.
    Jun.2003, Chronical pain back, botton, leg, foot right side
    Nov.2005, ADR L4L5 with no result and extra pain left side
    Febr.2006, Posterial fusion L5S1, Right side pain resolved but left pain worse.
    Aug.2006, Anterial fusion L4L4S1, no result but worse.
    Febr.2007, removal ADR posterial and placement of cage L4L5, no result.
    2007, rehab for 18 weeks
    2008, Medtronic Morphine pump implanted, no result.
    Meds: NSAID's max, Paracetamol max, Morphine 120mg/d, pump 1,5mg/d

  • I am very interested in how this worked out. I have heard from several different sources that hardware removal may relieve pain. I'd be curious what the quality of the pain was pre removal and if it has been resolved.
  • Chuck and Renos, I can't even begin to tell you all the pain and anguish I've experienced over the last year and a half. By best suggestion is you go to my old thread on the read-only spine health site and read through it. The thread is called Waiting to have Hardware Out. If you can't find it, I saved a copy of my texts to my PC and can email it to you. When the site switched over last summer I started a new thread at this link:
    It should be near the top as I just posted to it.

    I'm happy to share my experience with anyone who it may help.
  • here is a link to the read only thread. This thread was not the only thread I posted to, but it should give you an idea of what I have been through.
  • Jenn--

    I just read that thread. Wow. It is almost erie how similar our paths are. I haven't had much pain relief since the surgery. It is hard to tell with the pain meds--my doc tells me if I took an Oxycontin today he bets I would have no pain--he may be right. I'm only on Vicodin now. He really thinks my issue is related to messed up pain sensors. Well, we will find out over the next month. I'm going to bite the bullet and cut out all narcotics. I just don't know how I will function. We'll see. I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be apologizing to me (well, they won't) a year from now when someone finally figures out my problem. My pain is worse then it ever was and there is no clinical reason why it should be--I am fusing at 80 percent, one level--it's crazy. I get a lot of stiffness--like someone poured concrete in my back--and leg pain that I never had pre-surgery--and it multiplies based on how much activity I do in a day. I'm sure my doctor will look at me like I have three heads if I ask him about hardware removal, but I'll ask him. I don't even know how they would take my hardware out--there are just four screws from the front that go directly into the disc space. Do they take out the cage as well? I don't get it. I've also developed a small rash--on either side of my stomach--I say rash--but it really isn't even that big of a deal--it gets pretty itchy at times and red. I'm wondering if that could be metal rejection. My wife joked that maybe all this time I've just needed Benadryl. I will be very interested to hear how you do. I hope you do well.

  • One more thing--no one has ever told me to take Calcium for the fusion. Is this standard practice?
  • Chuck, maybe it was at the old forum, but quite a bit was said about diet that help fusion. One of the most important item I remember was taking calcium to help new bone growth. If you do a search for the word "calcium" or "calcium and fusion" you may find more info. Interestingly, the drug that suppose to prevent osteoporosis, FOSAMAX, actually works against fusion so doctors usually advise their patient to stop taking it a while before the surgery and don't start it again for a few months after.

  • And I have read a lot that NSAID's (Ibruprofen, etc.) will be bad for bone-growth and give less chance of a solid fusion.
    Further my question is what the symptoms are to get a diagnosis: Hardware out?
  • Jenn- These are awesome early returns on the pain levels. I sure hope this does the trick for you. You have been through so much and it is time to get on with your life. Terri
  • Chuck, since your hardware was inserted from the front, I don't think they can do hardware injections to test if it is the screws. Don't let the doctor blame it on "your pain sensors". My PM dr tried to keep telling me that he though it wasn't the hardware at all and that I might have been on so much narcotic that I have spontaneous pain from decreasing the dose. That's BS. If you are hurting more now than before surgery, or your pain is totally different than before...something is wrong and the surgery is the starting point. A lot of people have hardware issues and have theirs removed. You aren't going to be the first person who has had this problem in your dr's office... I guarantee he's had to remove it before on someone else.
    My dr removes hardware on about 2 patients per year. Up to 20% of fusion patients will have to have theirs removed.

    I am experiencing some new pain sensations equally in both legs the last several days, but I attribute it to my nerves waking up. It's not horrible pain, and its evenly distributed throughout both legs. I am still only taking dilaudid at night and nothing during the day... yep, I'm taking nothing for pain during the day! What a difference!

    Calcium 1000mg per day is pretty much standard. also, eating a good diet in general is important. I was told many many times that the more you walk the faster you fuse.

    and thanks for taking the time to read my old thread. I went back myself and read it and it really brought back a lot of memories for me. I was living on the site for a year. The comments on my dogs were special, My oldest dog died in February. Since August, I've been raising bunnies and they are wonderful therapy. Very quiet and snuggly. Perfect for someone stuck in the recliner for an hour or so. And all the people, I miss them and I haven't seen most of them here so I don't know if they have left for good or what. It sure is nice to see you, Terri.

  • Jenn - so glad to connect here!

    I'm really curious about your hardware removal and your symptoms leading up to it.

    I was told on my last apt. that I needed to consider getting my hardware out. Basically, it's making hamburger of my back muscles.

    I am not so sure I WANT it out.

    Since that apt. I have been able to reduce the muscle pain - I don't sit back in hard chairs or rub on the scar area or manipulate those muscles over the screw heads.

    But lately, I've got this pulled muscle feeling in the left side of my back that will NOT go away. The first week I thought it was just a strain. But now it's also gone down the left leg. It just feels like a severely pulled muscle. But I can't seem to make it go away. Not reducing exercise, not stretching, not anything.

    I'm off to read your history - I just didn't want to 'color' or persuade my description to correspond with anyone else's before I got it down.
  • Okay, so read it all - I don't know that my pulled muscle feeling is it... maybe I'll wait a few more weeks and see if it goes away or what.

    I do recognize that bee-sting feeling over a screw head - when I get bumped or like when the NS pushed on it - I also felt the sting go all the way down my leg as my leg buckled underneath me.

    p.s. my NS says I am completely fused - that was around 8 months too - so I could have the hardware removed as far as the fusion goes.
  • Hi Saltzworks, If you are fused you technically do not need the hardware. My dr told me that fusion is so strong that if I got in an accident or something that I would blow out the next level up before that fusion would break. Nice thought, huh? Anyway, it's stronger than you think.
    the question of course is...do you want to have surgery again? For me, this was a no-brainer and I'm so glad I finally got that stuff out of me. I feel so much better already.
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