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anyone with metal

donnaddonna Posts: 40
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:49 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
can you feel the metal inside of you? Does weather affect how you feel? Can you do things you did before surgery? Thank you in advance for the info!


  • Howdy Donna,

    I can feel mine when it is cold out. It feels like a thumb tack with the point smoothed out on the back of my esophagus. I think it is the hinge of my wing (see avatar). I can feel the hardware too if I move my esophagus back and forth!

    I think most of us notice more or different pain with various weather systems. I'm fairly well convinced that it isn't "the weather" itself, but the drop in atmospheric pressure that makes us feel worse.

    I'm not a good example for pre to post surgical activities as my neck fusions are a mess with a lot of collateral issues. I'll table this reply to after they fix the mess. :) I hope you're having a good day!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I do not feel the metal,(I am not aware of it), but I do feel cold and have a hard time warming up my lumbar spine once it has gotten cold. The metal in spinal hardware is not supposed to conduct heat or get cold. I don't notice heat, but I do cold.

    When I walk in cold weather, no matter how much I bundle up, the rest of my muscles warm up and my body feels warm in general, but my lumbar back still feels cold and a bit stiff.

    It seems like everyone who posts on boards feels (and complains) about the change in weather, particularly damp and rain, even though the scientific community says there is no proof.
  • I have both a cervical and lumbar fusion plus a pain pump implant. No, I never feel the metal or the pain pump implant but I sure do feel the weather changes!!
    Wheather changes, expecially cold fronts, cause a flare up in my pain big time.

    I awoke this morning with my pain back down to it's normal level after a weeks flare up and as I am sitting here right now I can feel my pain slowly creeping up....again. Another cold front is moving in again tonight. Starting with rain and changing over to snow tomorrow. Lucky me huh?

    Cheers :H
    Patsy W
  • I can feel mine when it's cold out. I go for a walk outside and can feel those rods on either side of my spine. I stiffen up until I get warmer again.
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • Just an FYI. Titanium does conduct heat and cold. All metals do. Titanium is very good at dissipating heat. Much more so than Stainless Steel. Titanium does get cold. What it does in cold is it is more impervious to cold making it brittle. It has a very wide operating temperature. In humans it will stabilize better around our core temperature. So that feeling cold in your hardware is less of an issue. But not non-existent.

    The advantages to Titanium over Stainless Steel in humans is. The biggest being resistant to all bodily fluids and chemicals that would cause corrosion. Next is it has almost no release of metallic ions in the body. These features are what makes it the most successful in not causing rejection by the body. This is where most metals fail in the human body.

    After those key features comes the bonuses. It can be forged and shaped into almost any shape and size needed. It has very high tensile strength and low weight. So what looks like a very thin flimsy piece is actually quite strong. It also has a very long life span so it can be implanted and left far longer than a human will live. This reduces the chance of having to have a redo surgery.

    Titanium in medical grade is extremely expensive. One of those screws you have in your screws and rods kit is about $500-$1,000 per screw. So 4 screws and 2 rods for a single level fusion are easily $5,000 alone. Even the surgical instruments themselves are now being made of titanium.

    Titanium is used for almost every internal device made these days. All hardware for fusions, hip replacements, pace maker casings, dental devices, etc.. Facial reconstruction is now using it in some areas where bone grafting can't be done.

    Along with the Titanium you also need some type of material to replace the joint cushions we call discs and cartilage. You can plan on seeing much more poly/urethane or delrin bushing systems come into play. Once someone properly defines what "medical grade" means and the FDA approves it. I foresee this addition being even more profound than going from Stainless Steel to Titanium. Making old fashion fusions like we have obsolete. Including the current ADRs. No more fusions. A properly reconstructed joint with cushioning and 360 movement. But I digress...

  • It sounds like everyone is a little different. Im not sure I will be able to handle feeling somethin foreign in my neck, just thinking about it makes me a little sick at my stomach.
  • Donna,

    I have two screws in my knee, six screws holding a rather large metal plate to my neck, and four screws holding two metal rods in place in my lower back, and can’t feel them at all. I get sore when it get’s cold or the weather changes dramatically (it’s 15 degrees right now where I am) but I don’t think it’s from the hardware. I think it’s the surgeries themselves that turns us into human barometers.

  • I felt mine for sure!!!

    I could press on the screw heads in my lumbar fusion and it would make my leg collapse. The screws were bumps on the sides of my spine.

    We did take them out, Almost a year ago... and guess what - I got rid of 75% of my backaches!! I am doing so very much better now.

    It sucks a bit, because now I know that when I have my next level done, it means 2 surgeries (one for putting it in and one for taking it all out) instead of just one.
  • Everyone will be different,

    I don't feel anything, warm or cold weather. At this point, I don't even know I had the surgery. 8 months out.

    I don't think most people feel anything. I am just saying the percentage is high you won't either.

  • Hi Donna:
    I truly am sorry that you are experiencing the pain caused by neck/back issues. I would have to agree with Graham (as my surgeon also agrees) that we feel pain due to barometric pressure changes. I typically feel it more in my lumbar area than my cervical. I am unsure if this is due to me having an artificial disc placed at C6-C7, which helps support the previous fusion at C3-C6. I was very fortunate to find a surgeon that designed, did trials, and submitted to FDA for approval the Prestige Artificial Disc. I did have to wait 2 yrs for it to be approved, but well worth the wait. When the Prestige was placed, he was able to remove the titanium plate and screws from my first fusion from 5 yrs prior. This may also contribute to the reduction in pain, as there is less metal in my neck???
    As far as my low back, that is a totally different monster. I was born with only 4 lumbar vertebrae, which one missing, no one knows. But I'm fused from bottom 2 to sacrum. I never really recovered from this surgery. I was forced to leave my job and apply for SSI (FINALLY won after a SIX year battle, yeah!!!) When I went to my last appt for my lumbar (for last SSI hearing). My x-rays discovered that both rods had "disengaged" (that is what report stated) from spine. So I have 2 rods essentially "floating" in my low back. I do have increased pain, although I don't feel the "exact rods", I do feel the pain specifically where they are located, as well as a lot of muscle spasms and pain. I also still have quite a bit of pain where the incision was, I am unsure if this is due to the large amount of scar tissue that has accumulated???
    Hope this helps, the more input - the better, I feel.
    Also, if anyone has experienced the rods in their lower back detaching from their spine, I would really like to hear your experience. At this point, I am totally against having another surgery, but still am curious as to what others' pros and cons are. Thanks!
    To All, have a splendid day and I look forward to your comments!!!
  • I have titanium in my neck and lumbar. I don't feel heat or cold, but I do get flare ups of swelling around the implants sometimes. It brings about a feeling of pressure on my throat when it's in my neck (nothing extreme like choking), and when that happens, I can feel that there's something in there. I don't really feel the implants themselves as much in my lumbar, but it seems like that hardware has a higher frequency to "snag" on things and cause swelling, and that's more painful for me, bringing back pre-op symptoms (sciatica, etc.). I also had to buy a foam mattress topper because of lower back pain that feels like more like general aching than the pain caused by my spine injury. I suspect that has something to do with how a regular mattress presses on the surgical area (including the implants), or how the titanium keeps my spine from "giving" in that spot, as the foam mattress topper resolved the issue.
  • KalalaKKalala Posts: 1
    edited 12/02/2014 - 8:24 PM
    yes!! I am fused from t2 to L...(2?) which is most of my back and I can definitely feel the metal! My doctor said I wouldn't but since I am tiny it's easier for me to feel. the weather does also affect me I know if it's going to rain before I've even gotten out of bed sometimes. As for the cold I live in Florida but anytging under like 50 mskes me pretty stiff.
  • WncLeeWWncLee Posts: 3
    edited 01/22/2015 - 12:09 AM
    When the barometric pressure changes it in turn makes you hurt(drop in pressure) or feel better(increase in pressure). I live at an elevation of about 3000 feet & my surgeon is in Charlotte which is at 751 feet. I have had extremely bad pain recently along with a loud popping noise, I had MRI & AP Flex Xray done here locally & once the surgeon heard the recording of my back popping & looked at imaging I went in for a CT scan & visit. Once I got to Charlotte I hurt much less & the popping went away totally, got back home & started hurting more along the way & the first step out of the car the popping came right back. When I say popping it is loud enough to hear across the room & each pop is very painful. Elevation & barometric pressure go hand in hand, the higher you are the lower the pressure, I have L4-S1 lumbar fusion & C4-C5 cervical fusion & both feel the change in pressure, going from a reading of 940 to 920 means the difference of being able to move around the house at 940 to feeling like I'm being crushed at 920 & end up taking sleeping pills to knock myself out from the pain. When the pressure is low no matter how much oxycodone,ibuprofen & gabapentin it has no effect on the pain at all, xxxx each trip I take to Charlotte to see my surgeon I notice I hurt less once I get closer to the green area as does my girlfriend which has a 6 level fusion. Some Dr's say it doesn't make any changes & some do,2 of mine does agree that it does & I can attest to it,I love the mountains but it's time for me to get to a lower elevation that's in the areas that has a more stable higher barometric pressure. Not all lower elevations have stable pressures, some have major fluctuations which have read about people ending up in extreme pain from fusions,arthritis, & fibromyalgia. Some smartphones have pressure sensors & you can get an app to keep an eye on it, my favorite is Barometer Monitor & is free. Just my 2 cents,hopefully it may help some of those out there figure out why they are having bad days & good days, a 20 minute car ride down the road to a family dinner put me in the bed due to a drop of 25, once back home it eased off some.
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