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5 Months Post-op S1- L5 Spinal Fusion...hardware removal

crashhccrashh Posts: 40
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
At my 3 month post-op with my surgeon he spoke of possibly having to remove the hard due to the increased pain I am having in my lower back. I am coming up on 5months post-op and the pain is worse. I have been in PT since march 09 and today they told me they were going to stop seeing me since I am in so much pain and restart PT after the hardware is removed. Of course I do not want to have another surgery but I will do what I need to do. My main question is, is it possible that I hurt myself again? or is it the hardware that is giving me problems. Is it possible to have the hardware removed 6 months post-op Spinal Fusion. We did xrays and the bone is growing back very very fast. The Reflex Extension Tests will be done in 4 weeks but I am not sure what that consists of. I think it is just a certain type of Xray.
I look forward to all of your input.
thanks, crashh


  • I don't know about you specifically, but my hardware was loose and too big. Mine was removed in 2 different operations because I was not(still not totally) fused. Just wanted to let you know that hardware removal is a piece of cake after fusion! I had an overnight hospital stay, that's it. After 2nd one, I got off OR cart in my room and walked to bathroom and then to bed. I got to my hospital room about 6pm and at midnight, I was ready to go home. My doc usually only has his patients off work for 3 weeks after hardware removal.

    I don't know if your hardware is causing your pain, just wanted to chime in and let you know that the surgery is not even close to what fusion surgery feels like!

    Good luck, keep us posted.
  • I am so confused, sorry! Did you have a fusion or just a discectomy? I thought I saw you post about just a discectomy but maybe not you or maybe way earlier????
  • I too am looking at hardware removal -

    My NS gave me Voltaren Gel to rub on my scar site - to see if it took away the back pain. It's an anti-inflammatory.

    From what I understand, if the gel works, then the hardware must be creating inflammation that can possibly be solved by removing it.

    See if you can try it - best of luck

  • crashh said:
    My main question is, is it possible that I hurt myself again? or is it the hardware that is giving me problems. Is it possible to have the hardware removed 6 months post-op Spinal Fusion. We did xrays and the bone is growing back very very fast.
    I too am 6months post-op L5/S1 fusion and have just had a hardware block to determine if the hardware is the cause of my pain. The injection gave me tremendous relief from the muscle fatigue and pain. I had another source of pain below the injection site that was unaffected. I am going to ask the NS if the "other" pain could be SI joint pain. My 6 month CT scan showed that I am fusing well and there was significantly more bone growth between 3 and 6 months. The NS said that one side of my hardware could be safely removed at this stage but not both because the fusion needs to be solid to remove all the hardware. My thoughts for you are the following.
    1.I would find out if you are solidly fused before taking out the hardware - 6 months is very early.
    2.What kind of diagnostic tests does your doc do to determine "hardware pain"? While I doubt a hardware block is fool proof, it does seem to be the most significant diagnostic tool.
    3.Can you tell exactly where the pain is coming from? SI joint could be a culprit.
    Good luck and I hope you post the outcome if you have your hardware removed. It is such a tough decision.
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