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Question for postop hardware removal posterior neck area

candle99ccandle99 Posts: 279
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:58 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I'm 7 days postop from my 7th spine surgery. This one was to remove posterior hardware from C4 thru C6. My surgeon told me it would be a piece of cake from having it put in. So far, he's a liar. I had so much pain after recovery that I was very vocal and crying (and I've never done that). I'm a silent sufferer. The surgery nurse said the surgeon had a really tough time getting one side of the screws out. I woke up with a central IV line in my neck and another bruised knot above that where I guess they tried and didn't succeed. I went into surgery with the regular arm IV going. The nurse said the central line was precautionary in case they needed to pull air out of my blood since I was laying on my stomach during the surgery??? I don't understand that one.

My pain on my left side has been like a million fireants from the incision out to my shoulder. The muscle on top of that side is also clinching up. My right side is just great. It's weird that it's all on one side. The surgery nurse said he had a hard time on the right side so it must be referred pain. It's just a hair better now that I'm home but anything (like raising my left arm to wash my hair) starts it biting me again. My posterior surgery was to hold two failed fusions anteriorly done where my grafts were sinking into my vertebras and closing up the nerve holes again.

Before this surgery, I was having deep knife-like pain between my shoulder blades that also hurt to breathe sometimes, other times, it was just a aching deal. The more activity that I did, the worse the pain got. I've had one thoracic xray and it looked pretty bad, but my surgeon was just focused on my neck and wouldn't really say much except that I had arthritis there. I did have some pinching at the hardware site too.

My questions are: if you've had posterior neck hardware removed, what was your recovery like? Did you have burning pain?

I just expected this relief of pain quickly and that hasn't happened. I know it's still early.

Thanks in advance, Melissa


  • Hi Melissa,

    I have had posterior hardware removal, and it was much easier for me coming out than going in. I did wake in some really bad pain, but they had touched the nerve that was damaged, so the pain was to be expected. Once home the pain began to let up. Also during that surgery they did a three level frominatomy, but i certainly didn't go through anything like your discussing. I like you have been through the ringer with my cervical spine, so the hardware removal was much easier than going in, now I wouldn't say it was a walk in the park, that is for sure. Hang in there hopefully the pain will begin to let up soon for you.
  • it was done as a precautionary measure. If your surgery site is higher than your heart and located near a large blood supply(vessels), there is a risk of air entering the surgery site. Basically being sucked into the heart. If it happens, the central line, which is long enough to enter the heart, can be used to get the air out by using a large syringe to pull the air out. It was super smart to go ahead and place one, and they were very nice to do it after you were under anesthesia instead of making you suffer thru having it inserted while awake.

    Hope this helps; at least about one issue.

    It also seems that there are only a hand full of surgeons that do really complex multilevel spinal procedures. I have a one level lumbar fusion and the next level is autofusing, and now am having thoracic DDD as well. My surgeon doesn't want to aggressively treat the thoracic issues either. I worked at 4 local hospitals in my reasonably large city, and have never seen a thoracotomy approach spinal procedure, so I'm trying to manage my thoracic problems medically at this time. I may need to find a surgeon in a larger city, like Chicago, Miami, or New York because I want a surgeon that deals with these problems more frequently. My surgeon did a decent job on my one level, but I would not expect him or any surgeon to do a complex procedure that he doesn't do on a regular basis. This is my plan anyway.

    Much luck with your recovery,

  • I'm about to have my SSD hearing, actually it's tomorrow. I'm scared to death. I've never been in court or in trouble and am afraid that I'll just lose it and bawl or something. I have an advocate that's going with me and my mom, but the advocate has already let me know that the judge is a very sarcastic man and out of 500 something cases, he's only approved 160. So I feel very negative going into it. She also said that SSD looks at back injuries more than neck issues for getting approved. say what? And she said that this judge approved more people that didn't have any benefits and were uneducated (as if my college degree would be held again me?) It all seems stupid to me. If you can't work, you can't work. I have tons of medical evidence, I limp with my bad knees, I can't sit for very long and carry a pillow if I go anywhere.

    I've had long term disability and some retirement disability to help me pay the bills for the last two years. My husband has started his own small business and I haven't helped him. I wish I could sometimes for my depression and boredom of not being able to do anything but hurt. It's been a drain on us financially to say the least....but I have been blessed to have my benefits from where I worked. And my insurance, although more than $900 a month for a family of four, it's been a blessing too for all of my surgeries.

    I'd like to hope I was done now (like a cake), lol, but my last CT scan showed my C3/4 disc was going out and I still have alot of pain from my botched up lumbar surgeries (had cages to shift out of place and they left them in).

    I'm 47 and just wonder if I'll ever feel decent ever again?? you know? Sorry for the book edition here, I'm lonely and need to vent. Typing laying down is funky and one hand is going numb so I'll go for now. Good wishes to everyone! Melissa
  • I learned one time at the end of the hearing that my advocate and the judge were talking to about how I didn't have any nerve root impingments. (like that was the answer to getting approved or not). My advocate never asked me what I had in MRI, CT, or myelogram studies on that and I have a bunch. All of these tests are in my evidence but I doubt that she read everything. Most of mine say "slightly abutting the L4 nerve root" and mild impingment of the C4 left nerve root". I showed her one of the CT scan that said that on the way out and she kinda snubbed her nose and said "well slightly or mild" doesn't get it. It has to be severe. WHAT! I have had severe and had surgeries/fusions to have those fixed cause I couldn't stand the pain. Even these "slightly or mild" pinchings aren't fun day in/day out. They don't take account that you are laying down relaxed somewhat during these tests and the minute you stand up and move...whammo, it's medium to severe. I was so aggravated and felt degraded by the whole thing. I answered her questions and the judges and listened to the vocational dude say there were only the jobs that I'd held before in my category to be considered. My first denial said that the SSD agreed I was disabled from my curent career. So that would seem to mean that I was a shoe-in.....but I didn't get that feeling. I felt like since I was a colleged degreed person making a high salary when I left, that they wanted me back to work putting back into the system for some low-life that's collecting SSD and running a cash logging company in our town. ARGH!!!! Maybe it'll turn out good, but tonight I'm whiney and mad and I've eaten all my chocolate. WAAHHH!
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