I had the Hardware removed from my L5-S1 Fusion on the 2oth of Dec.2o11.(it was installed (6-06) And from the moment I woke up I could feel a difference. That golfball sized knot was gone from my back.Along with the stabbing sensation that went along with it.
Don't get me wrong this still hurts like hell but it's a different kind of pain.I think it's probably just the surgery area itself because of its locality and the fact that it is getting better everyday.
I actually sat behind my drums for a minute today and have pretty good leg strength back in both legs but I'm not going to push it for a while.I like the possibility that this may be the last of my severe back pain.
This may be the best Christmas I've had in a long time.
Anyway If this is a procedure you are considering I highly recommend it if your Doctor says it's cool to take it out.
It really seems to have helped with my pain. I'll keep you updated.