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Removal of Hardware

chenp22cchenp22 Posts: 5
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:51 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All,

I was hit on my motorcycle by a semi-truck that was running a red light in November of 2009. I suffered multiple injuries, including a L2 burst fracture.

I had posterior implants inserted into my L1-L3.

Here is a pic of my burst fracture,

and here is a pic, 1 year post Op (November 2010)

I saw a orthopedic surgeon that specialized in spine, and he was adamant that I should have the hardware removed 2 years post op after I have had maximum amount of time to heal.

I saw a Neurosurgeon and he told me that he was happy to remove the hardware, but didn't see the point, and that he had only taken 1 out in 13 years.

I am 29 years old, and I still struggle daily with back pain (Mostly when Im not on my tramadol meds). I think intuitively I am telling myself that I should remove the metal, because if there are complications later down the track, Id rather have the surgery sooner rather later.

My question is, Have any of you had the metal removed? Did it get worse/better? Or if you have any advice, Id love to hear it.

Here is a what my operation report said. If anyone understands any of this, or sees anything weird/interesting/odd, please let me know

prone on four poster, iv abx, calf pumps
midline incision
paraspinal muscles reflected to TPs and held with self retaining retractors
left sided L2 lamina fracture noted, inter-and supraspinous ligaments intact
6mm Schanz pins USS fracture set bilat L1 and L3
correction achieved under ll
rods locked
check images satisfactory
closure in layers with vicryl monocryl and clips over 2 redivac drans


  • I don't have anything to say to help you, but wanted to let you know that I will be thinking of you and hope that whatever you do, it will aid in your complete healing.
  • I haven't had my hardware out but looking into it. My surgeon said he doesn't take them out very often but usually there is a 50% improvement in the level of pain when he does. So it isn't going to remove the pain but it may make it better.
  • I'm not sure why the orthopedic surgeon felt so strongly about removing your hardware. I had mine removed to see if it would help with residual back pain, which it has.

    Best wishes,

  • Hi Marianne,

    Glad to hear that your removal has helped with the back pain.

    The orthopedic surgeon mentioned that the metal isn't solid enough to last in your body for an extended amount of time. Mainly because the metal can corrode, leak into your bones. He also mentioned its better to have them removed because if you have complications down the track, you dont want to be constantly having CT's and MRI's on all your vital organs because of the radiation.

    My Neurosurgeon said the opposite. He said he puts metal in all the time, and leaves them in forever.

    Conflicting opinions is what brought me here.

    When you had the removal surgery, Was it as difficult as the first time? Has the pain decreased significantly or slightly?

    Thanks for your reply.
  • Hi lilac,

    Thanks for your Response. How long has it been since you had the fusion?

    It seems weird that the doctors are saying that they don't often take them out, but that of the ones that they have taken out, they have seen even marginal improvement. I would have thought since it helps the patient, they would recommend taking it out.

    To me, Its not natural to have metal in your bones like that, and I think that having it removed will eventually let your body heal itself(I hope anyway).
    I guess if I saw improvement > 25% I would be happy with the result. Its just unfortunate that there is no guarantees with it!

    Thanks for your response
  • Hi Honeysmom

    Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it.
    Wish we could stop back pain for all of us here!
  • If any of you wanted to see my progress from the accident, check out this blog my cousin did for me


    It hasn't been updated for awhile, but its still pretty cool.
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