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VISIBLE hardware under skin?? need support :(

queenjillybeanqqueenjillybean Posts: 46
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am 1 day shy of my 4 week post op from my 3rd lumbar fusion- and am really struggling this time- even though this surgery (XLIF/PLIF combo) was touted as "less invasive" than my prior fusions(ALIF/PLIF combo twice)...
anyway, i have a large hump under my skin- that was NOT there prior to surgery... my last appointment with surgeon was to get the staples out and xray about a week post op- and i am not scheduled to return for 2 more weeks for 6 week appointment... i have had a LOT of post op swelling throughout my entire torso and i was also dramatically "pulling away" from the pain for the first 10 days post op- and in the past when i did that, i looked hunched over and curved in the past, so i thought i would wait and see... i have a very thin waist and back- and my surgeon did tell me and some other Dr's who came into the room to view my unique xrays- that he had to do something out of the ordinary on this fusion due to a screw being in the way...
I also have abdominal distension from what i am assuming is where the psoas muscle was split on the XLIF- and whatever muscles were cut on the PLIF- visually, i barely recognize my torso from the front or the back- all post op... my pain is finally under control with improved meds from my PM, and also just with the time needed to heal... my left leg/ thigh/groin area has horrific pain that did not exist there prior to the XLIF, however, i have been informed that this is a common side effect of the XLIF... as of now, i feel much worse than i did pre-op, and after 6 massive spine surgeries, i would think that i would be a little better adept at handling all of this... for all that i have been though, i guess, i am doing OK...but barely OK, and i am frustrated and emotional about it... i feel very alone and isolated right now... what i would like to know is if ANYONE has hardware showing under their skin?


  • Did you by any chance have a Bone Stimulator implanted?
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    You can see the metal rods or should I say the end of the rods in my neck. I freaked out when I noticed this. The surgeon says that the muscle and tissue surrounding the implants have died which in turn makes the hardware visable. I keep thinking they are going to pop through my skin.LOL. I have been assured that they will not. It looks like they are sticking out about a half inch from my neck.
  • On my last posterior surgery (not XLIF) I had that "entire torso" swelling you described - almost like a bloated whale. Your description of the thigh/groin sounds like a psoas muscle issue - rarely after surgery there can be hematomas (collection of blood), abscesses (infection), tear from the points of where the muscle inserts, and its "spasm" is a frequent source of awful deep pain - I had a PT try to "release" mine once manually and it felt like he was trying to dig out my ovaries with his elbow and hands! (It hurt lots!!!). Another tried to put Botox in it; other PM's use lidocaine & steroids. Make sure your surgeon knows where you are hurting and if its normal for that procedure this long out.
    If you are concerned its hardware - trip to the hospital take a look at your post-op films.
  • all for responding... any and all comments are much appreciated... as to bone stimulator- no- i do not have one...
    and as to the hump- i am pretty sure that it is hardware- it is something that was NOT there before the surgery... and i DO have an unusual amount of hardware- i was previously fused twice at L4/5 and L5/S1- and both of those were 360 degree ALIF/PLIF fusions that required bizarre amounts of hardware- to the point that my PM dr's have been in shock... then the same surgeon went in 4 weeks ago today- and I had the XLIF/PLIF at L3/4 and at my one and only post op appoint my surgeon was showing the x-ray to his associates and explaining that he had to do some unusual procedure to bypass a screw that was in the way from the prior fusion... i saw my PM dr 2 weeks ago and he was alarmed by the hump as well...
    i have had swelling throughout my entire torso (incisions are on low back and also horizontally across my waist)- my other fusions i had harvests taken from each iliac crest- but this fusion they could not harvest anymore from me- so they used a bone bank... i did not have this magnitude of swelling with any of my other 5 spine surgeries... the swelling HAS gone down some- but i still look bizarre and misshapen compared to how i normally appear...
    i go back for my 6 week post op with surgeon in 2 weeks and to my PM dr in 2 weeks also...i have done a whole lot of research on the internet since surgery- as i work from home/bed and have been pretty much bedridden since i got home from the hospital... i AM slowly feeling better- but it has been SLOW- and i have been frustrated with myself- as i feel like a veteran with all this stuff- yet, just not as prepared as i thought i was for the aftermath...
    it is also difficult to find much about the XLIF/PLIF combo and experiences from other patients...
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