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Hardware Removal Questions

icartiicart Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:42 AM in Chronic Pain
I could really use any suggestions or thoughts on hardware removal!

I had spinal fusion L5-S1 a little less than 4 months ago (11-16-09) and am already having problems. Well actually, I haven't had a day of not being in pain. My pain has actually been worse. My NS orginally suggested it might be SI joint pain and sent me for a SI Joint Pain injection to which I got no relief. He then sent me for SI Joint Therapy to which again I got no relief. I saw my NS again today for another post op and he is now thinking my pain might be hardware pain and that I might have fibromyalgia.

He started me on Lyrica and I am having another pain injection in 2 weeks. This time the pain injection will be directly at the screw heads to determine if this is where the pain is coming from. If it turns out to be hardware pain, he said he would recommend taking the hardware out once we see a good/solid fusion.

HELP! Has anyone ever heard of such? If so, what can be done to buy time until the hardware can be removed? I do take ULTRAM for the pain but it doesn't seem to be working that well. And starting Lyrica tomorrow for the Fibro!!



  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    The hardware bother some. I've had mine taken out. and didn't have any better results. But I do know people that have had good results with hardware removal.
    Ultram may not be the most effective pain reliever for you. and you should discuss that with the surgeon or ask for a referral to a pain management Dr.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • hi icart
    welcome to spine-health..
    there can be problems with hardware i had mine removed 7mths after surgery and i felt great for along time..
    did your doc do a mri to see if you are fully fused..
    and i would get another opinion if ns telling ya might have fibro..
    takes many exams and test to make sure something else is not going on
    i have had fusion and hardware removed..and was great for yrs..
    and i know have alot of different issues and esi injections made me worse..and i have been diagnosed by neuro and rheumo and my pcp with fibroymalgia..
    i have tried majority of those lyrica and cymbaltia and neurontin and alot of bad bad side affects..
    none helped with the boat load of hell caused from fibro..
    pls get mri and another opinion...
    i hope you will pm me if you want i have been thru alot with fibro and took long time and docs to get diagnosed..
    it could be problem with hardware mine had come loose..yes most will say not possible but it is possible..
    let your doc know ultram not helping you..i hope you have good luck with lyrica some do..i dont do well with many meds..
    hang in there i know its hard to do..
    alot of great ppl here for great support..read alot in here..
    anything ya want i'm here..use the search box i found it helpful when looking for certain things..
    gentle hugs
    neck,bone spurs pain started 04, back issues and fusion l4,l5 06~hardware removed.
    good few yrs. 09 pain sharp, numbness feet,legs, diagnosed fibro, neurop. legs.lung issues.
    daily goal do good thing for someone.
  • Actually what we are doing is starting the Lyrica to see if that will ease up some of the all over stiffness I am having. I will see my NS again in one month to discuss how the pain injection @ the screw heads went and to see how I am feeling after having been on the Lyrica for a month. He is actually not going to treat the Fibro. He is going to contact my regular doctor and see if he will treat it and if not he is going to refer me to a rheumatologist for treatment. We are just going to go ahead and get a jump on the meds to see what route we are headed towards.

    As for the screw heads, he hasn't done a MRI yet. He has just done the basic xray each time I have been in post op. He did say that the hardware appears to all be in place but no fusion has taken place. He said he is thinking screw heads because of where my deep pain is and because of my tiny frame.
  • I had the hardware removed after a year because it hurt - a lot! My doc claimed my body was rejecting the metal, who knows - doubtful because I had my stomach stapled so I could be this hot sexy (now crippled up thing) years before that, and never had any trouble with all the staples and there are a boatload! Anyway, after hardware removal, I felt great for about a year, then arthritis started setting in wherever things were fused and grafted and it sucks. Ultram sucks for pain relief - it's a waste... (My opinion). In my case, the hardware removal was really easy, they made a slit down my spine and took it out. A gal here at work however, had issues with the screws, they went in thru her stomach, she got staph infection and has been miserable ever since - a bad, bad, deal. Get lots of opinions!
  • i've had hardware for 20 years. I had a burst fracture of the L1.The injections did nothing for me. I use a fentanol patch. Works well for me.Give the hardware some time. Good luck
  • i've had hardware for 20 years. I had a burst fracture of the L1.The injections did nothing for me. I use a fentanol patch. Works well for me.Give the hardware some time. Good luck
  • I would highly recommend that you try either dry needling or trigger point injections into the soft tissue around the hardware. I was having pain from my hardware and dry needling cleared it up. After surgery you get scar tissue around the hardware that can be painful and the dry needling or trigger point injections go in and mechanically break it up.

    It may or may not work, but it's a simple, relatively non-invasive procedure that may get you relief. Your doctor should be aware, but just make sure if you do pursue trigger point injections that all they inject is the anaesthetic and no cortisone since cortisone could inhibit your fusion.
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