I had L-4 & 5 spinal fusion and cystectomy for a small cyst at the base of my spine in May 08. I thought I was healing up well. However, I am still having a lot of pain; issues with left leg numbness and tingling as well as some inflamation and a lump at the surgical site. Recently the subject of hardware removal came up from my Dr. How common and successful is this option and what is the duration of recovery from such a procedure. I thought I needed hardware forever!??. I am terrified of the thought of another back surgery and am becoming increasingly inactive, anxious and depressed which results in insomnia. Looking for good advice and encouragement.