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Having screws removed from surgery

Mindymork62MMindymork62 Posts: 207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:47 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
It's been about 3 months since my double fusion in the lower back and when I went to my Neurologist yesterday he said he may have to remove the screws from the double fusion he did. The fusion is coming along well, but I'm having allot of pain still. Anyway, how is a surgery done for removing the screws from a cage and also removing the bone stimulator. Will I be put to sleep? Will I have to stay in the hospital?


  • Sorry to hear about that, it is tough to think about doing it all over again. Most on here say that it is nowhere near as bad as the original surgery, so that is somewhat comforting!

    Did he happen to say how long you will have to wait until he can take them out?
  • Mindy, You should get most of this info from doc or his nurse, can you call her?, how long in hospital, do they make new incisions? Lots must be going through your head now.

    I am 6 weeks today and In a great deal of pain still, from what I have heard you can have lot if pain for 6 months or 1-2 year, or longer. I KNOW NOTHING of the procedure you are facing, I only replied from concern.

    Mindy, after 3 months, why does doc feel the screws are the pain generator? Did he do MRI or films, are the screws hitting something or causing inflammation or infection?

    My NS told everything stays in unless there is an issue, that's why I feel so concerned for you. You also mentioned bone stim,.I assume that's internal too? I don't have one, I think cause I had my own bone taken from hip....... perhaps?

    Wishing you a pain free day

  • Mindy, what type of pain are you having? I had fusion L4/5 on 9/29 and my left leg is numb and painful. It was fine beforehand, but my rt. leg hurt. The rt. leg is great since the surgery!

    I'm surprised they'll take screw out so soon after surgery. Take care!!!

  • He said he would check me again at my next appointment on Nov. 1st.
  • Just joined 2day and I am going for 1st appt. 2 c x-ray of my spine after 5weeks. I had 6 6mm. screws and 2 rods and L4 disc removed. I have "sticking" pains in incision area and wonder what prompted your Neurol. to suggest removing screws? Was it due to excessive pain u r experiencing? and if so i hope this will alleviate your pain. I committed to this fusion to be out of acute & chronic pain every nanosecond of every day & except for a reduction of former sciatica nerve pain ,
    my back is status quo, very disappointing. Take it easy and wishing you success on this procedure
  • I am sorry to hear you are in so much discomfort. I too had have this problem but also a screw may be too close to a blood vessel. My surgeon will not remove the hardware until it has been in for 18 months. Unless the vessel starts to bleed out. Going to have another ct before next visit in June.
    Hope you soon will get relief.
  • I am having hardware removal next week (possibly re-fusion). My os had told me that if I have the hardware removed, I'd go home the same day and no rehab necessary, continue with life as usual. I can literally feel the screws on the left side. This week has been especially bad with that which is increasing the pain.

    I just don't understand how the hardware can be removed so early. I would think no sooner than 6 - 8 months.... Best of luck to you!
  • When I saw my Neuro. a few weeks ago he said my fusion looks good after he looked at Xrays. I have a cage and screws, and a bone stimulator. I keep hearing a "clicking" noise in my back when I move, and I have allot of pain on the right side in my back that is extending down my butt and back of leg. That is why he was talking of removing some of the metal. The last thing I want to go through right now is another surgery.
  • I'm having trouble with the screws digging in my back. If I lay down on a harder surface they dig. If I exercise hard they dig and the rods poke me in even a little extension. It's causing some erratic muscle spasms and pain in my legs and general pain in my back.

    Nothing like any of the verve issues pre-op. This is all hardware digging. We're talking about taking it out at my next visit. Surgeon said this happens in small and/or skinny people. I'm not skinny like I used to be but I'm far from being big. So there isn't enough fat to cover it all and hide it. You can poke my back in the lower part and feel the screw heads easily. They are not buried under fat and muscle like it was described to me before.

    I don't mind having to take it easy for a couple of weeks after having them removed. It should be an easy recovery compared to the fusion surgery. Knock on wood... (or titanium)...
  • I had my hardware removed last January. I was 18 mo. post-op.

    My NS said that in abotu 10% of his cases he finds that the hardware needs to be removed. Mostly in skinny females. Must be the wiggle in the walk! LOL!! Just a little humor there, sorry.

    Anyway, I was in the hospital for 4 (or was it 5? I can't remember right now) after my removal. Mostly because I developed an allergic reaction to the pain meds.

    I bled a LOT - apparently scar tissue does that.
    I hurt - a lot. Mostly because they don't dope you up as well for a removal, it's not supposed to be as painful as the fusion and so I think I felt it more. Maybe a part of that is because of the allergic reaction issues.

    I had a lot of muscle pain in my low back. I could feel my screws through the skin and it was almost like pushing a button. Push a screw and see Amy's leg collapse on that side. Anyone remember that old toy that when you push the button, they whole little man collapses down - kind of like that.

    I am doing much better post removal. Now I'm just holding on hoping my next disc up holds on for a few more years. Almost makes me wish they'd fused that one at the same time - even though it wasn't as bad.

    Good Luck.
  • Someone mentioned about screws poking through backs. I am thin, 108 lbs at 5' 7"; my NS said that would be a big concern on a traditional PLIF, which is one of the reasons we went through front with ALIF.
    He actually said they can (rare, but can) come right through the skin.... Ouch!
    Has anyone heard of screws/hardware issues with ALIF?
    Hope you are feeling better Mindy.

  • I had a fusion about 4 months ago. I have been having a lot of pain in my back and down my right leg. He said one of the screws is hitting a nerve. I just found out yesterday that I am having another surgery to remove the one screw and shave off issues he may see during the surgery. I was told that it is not as painful as the fusion was. He said I would be in the hospital for 1-3 days depending on how my bowels are working. He said the most pain from the surgery would be the incision. I am a teacher and asked how long I would be off work. He said just a couple days as long as I feel like it. While I am scared too about another surgery, I figure it is not as bad as the fusion was. I would rather get the surgery and have a better chance to be pain free and off drugs then to stay on drugs and be in pain daily. My name is Mindi too. I hope we can help each other out through this process. Try to keep your head up.
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