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hardware removal anyone?

Deano 74DDeano 74 Posts: 17
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:00 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I know ive read some experiences on here before about having instrumentation removed but cant find them, also would like updates on them, and new ones. My question is did your pain get better, worse, or no change? Its been 13 months since my last fusion and they did bone grafts at all levels fused. My pm doc suggested another mri to see if the bone grafts took, and see another surgeon to evaluate. He said its possible to remove the hardware if bones look good and hes never seen anybody be worse than before, sometimes removing all the foreign metal, people have no more pain.(wouldnt that be a dream come true) Every surgeon has told me that hardware past L5 is gonna always be uncomfortable since the bottom screws are in my pelvic bone and theres not alot of room at that level. I dont know, but any experience with this would be greatly apreciated, thanks,
Dean
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Comments

  • Hardware block injection will tell you if the hardware.being in there is causing any pain,

    Hardware block give me a lot more releif then once it was removed, I have less pressure now then before but legs still hurt,

    Ask your dr about hardware block,
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • I am 2 years post fusion of L4 - S1 with decompression. I had some relief for about 1 month anf have had progressively worse. I went in with right leg pain and I now have left leg pain positive EMG for L5 radiculopathy, but MRI and CT Scan does not show nerve impingement. I have progressive swelling at the surgical area, in the morning it is non existent and the more I move the more swelling I have as well as increased pain. I have a history of allergies and I believe I am allergic to the Titanium. I am going to have a Myelogram this Friday which I am dreading because I had one in the past and had a spinal fluid leak. I would like to know what to expect if the hardware is removed. Any information would be helpful., Thank you
  • your word that stuck out was pressure. weird to hear that cuz the only way i can describe the pain i have is pressure. like somebody has a huge clamp on my lower area, kinda even my hips. like when i had a caudil epideral injection, the dr was getting ready to put the fluid in and said"your gonna feel some pressure". thats my pain!! its a pressure type pain in my whole low back/pelvic area. I dont have the lightning strike shocks anymore, just that awful pressure pain that pulls my knees in when i walk. do you think that'l get better?

    njcitygrl, ask the doc to try methadone. sounds bad, but eliminates nerve pain. no other narcotic does that, but it is a miracle for that
  • Hi,

    I had my hardware removed 6 months ago. Mine was playing up because it was infected. I had initial l5s1 fusion and that cured my back of leg sciatic pain. 6 months post fusion I developed front of thigh pain and hip and groin pain too. I too had swelling around my scar - it leaked at one point.

    Removing the hardware helped to start with but now I have pain returning - not sure though whether that could be because the infection is still there or if it is scar tissue etc. I now have awful foot pain too!

    Good luck

  • Only way to find out is see how much the hardware block helps,

    I always felt a lot of pressure on back of the legs when hardware was in my l4l5 ,

    That pressure is now somewhat gone but somehow the radiculopathy is still in my legs,

    I dont realy know if its from scar tissue or because of the nerve damage form the 1 st surgery of the artificial disc replacement,

    But we have noticed a slight change on the mri after hardware was removed as spine shows slight curve from what it was when hardware was in place, I cant say if thats a good or bad thing because our spine should have some natural curve,

    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Hi everyone. Please if you have a moment let me know what I am in for. This will be my 4th back surgery. My last was a L4-S1 Fusion. I have been in pain, constant pressure and nerve pain ever since. My new surgeon believes taking out hardware will help. All the injections in the word does not help. I just need to know what my recovery will be like. Is it just as bad as the fusion? I have a lot of scar tissue and some damage due to a staph infection I had from my first surgery. It sat there for months before anyone believed me. The old, "oh it's just post op pain". No, it wasn't it sat in my spine and then spread to my bones (osteomyolitis) thanks doc's. I really do like my new surgeon though. Any help you all might have for me I greatly appreciate it. Thanks and health to all of you. Leah
  • Hi everyone. Please if you have a moment let me know what I am in for. This will be my 4th back surgery. My last was a L4-S1 Fusion. I have been in pain, constant pressure and nerve pain ever since. My new surgeon believes taking out hardware will help. All the injections in the word does not help. I just need to know what my recovery will be like. Is it just as bad as the fusion? I have a lot of scar tissue and some damage due to a staph infection I had from my first surgery. It sat there for months before anyone believed me. The old, "oh it's just post op pain". No, it wasn't it sat in my spine and then spread to my bones (osteomyolitis) thanks doc's. I really do like my new surgeon though. Any help you all might have for me I greatly appreciate it. Thanks and health to all of you. Leah
  • Hi Leah,

    Can I ask how long your infection went "ignored" for? I too had an infection on my metalwork and I believe it was there from day 1. It was certainly there for a year before I got my hardware taken out. My current fear is that it had actually spread to my bone in that time. But maybe my current pain is due to the damage you speak of? It was nearly 2 years after my fusion that I finally had my hardware taken out.

    I felt better to start with but now feel awful again. Pain in both legs, feet, pain on sitting etc etc. Plus I am tired all the time.

    But the immediate aftermath is not as bad as after the fusion. If it had all gone to plan I was expecting to go back to work after a monthish. I did have a few weeks of relief after the surgery so maybe my new pain is scar tissue.

    Hope it helps for you.

    Helen
  • Hi Helen,

    My infection was in there for 8 months before they found it. I was on vancomyicin IV for 4 months and then it came back again. It showed up on my bone scan so my central line went back in and back on vanco for another 3 months. Now my back is so messed up with bone that has grown on top of nerves from the bone growth stimulator. It basically over grew bone. I am still not fused after 3 years at S1. The surgeon that is doing my surgery is trained in reconstructive and traumatic surgery of the spine. Thank God he trained at Mayo and Cleveland Clinic. I pray after all this I might have a day without pain for once in the last 9 years, Maybe? I hope the best for you. The only way they can really tell if you have osteomyolitis is by a bone scan. Have you had one? Take care and God bless. Leah.
  • Thanks Leah,

    I haven't had a bone scan but am having my sixth MRI and second CT on tuesday. I just want answers now.

    I only had one day of IV antibiotics and then 6 weeks oral. That is why I am worried.

    Hope you get some relief.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,732
    I've had my hardware removed 2 times. The first one didn't hurt nor the second. It's a quick surgery. the only pain was from the surgery. But then I had other issues.
    Most of the people who I know that had the removal either had less pain, or no change. And all agree the surgery is fast and a piece of cake.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Thanks Jim. I appreciate your post. I too, like you have other issues. So we will see how things go. I wish it was just taking the hardware out. There are so many other things going on in there. Trapped nerves and a screw that is way to close to my bowels also. I am just scared to death. Anyway, what will be will be. I will know when I wake up I guess. My surgeon is hopefull yet he said he knows he has a job ahead of him. I am going in on the 29th. Take care.
  • Helen,
    What is your diagnosis? Did they say it was osteomyolitis or something else? I have never heard of treating that with just one day of IV. It will never make OM go away with just one day of IV treatment. I had months of IV treatment. Are you having fevers and chills too? I had such horrid chills I thought I was going to die. Good luck. I still show scaring in there from my infection and that was years ago. My bone scan shows scars left over from it. Maybe you should see an infectious disease doctor.
  • Hi Leah,

    I am currently in the process of moving to a new surgeon. I saw him about 10 days ago and he is redoing all my tests again. Testing blood for everything, standing x-ray (never had one of those)mri with contrast and ct.

    My original surgeon never really thought I had any infection until he got in there to take the hardware out and he still maintains that the infection that caused my back to leak at 10 months post op was from a stitch sinus!

    So, in short, I have no diagnosis yet but I see my new guy on April 5th and hope to get nearer to some answers at that point. I am worried because I know that OM is caused by the very same biofilm bacteria that were coating my hardware. I also know that when they are in the biofilm phase it is hard to detect them - I had normal bloods most of the time and MRI etc apparently didn't show any infection.

    My nerve pain is getting worse, not better, and I just want my life back now. I am having some hot flushes in the mornings again - I had them last summer too.

    Anyway, sorry to moan on. I hope you have a low pain day today.

  • Hi....I know how hard it is to live with severe pain and no answers. I have been on this rollarcoaster for 9 years. I hurt my back when I was 33 and it all started then. I never in a million years would have guessed my life would have taken the turn it did at that point. What I would have given to know one day without pain. I now have forgotten what life without pain is. I feel for you, I really do. I wish you well....just keep up hope. I had to. I know it is hard. I am very hopeful this will be it for me this time around. I just don't know how many more setbacks I can take. I believe it this time I might have my miracle. You will too. Take care and let me know ok. Leah
  • Thanks Leah,

    I hope this is it for you too. I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

    I am 36 now, my disc went when I was 33 too!

    I will keep you posted.

    Helen
  • Thanks so much Helen. My surgery is next week. I am both hopeful and nervous. I will let you know as soon as I can log on. Please take care of yourself and let me know how things are going with you. I feel like my whole 30's were just robbed of me. It was doctors and surgeries with just pain. I just want my life back. I was a vibrant active person. I will be thinking of you. Thank you again. Take care of yourself. You are not alone. It is a hard cross to bare. It is not like we have a sign on us saying, "hey living in chronic pain please be patient and have empathy".
  • Hello Helen, Just checking in on you. I hope after this time you are doing better. Me, not so much. I have actually gotten worse. I will be having a Myelogram in the next week. I had such a bad experience with the last one that I'm scared to death. I am so tired of all this stuff. I just don't think its ever going to end. The last guess was that all the bone morphongenic material has done permanent damage to the nerves in my back, along with scar tissue from the infection too. I may just go to Mayo Clinic for an opinion. Its just that they keep you there for so long and its so expensive. If I do I will let you all know what the outcome is. I don't know what else to do. Its getting harder and harder to get up everyday. My own daughter doesn't even come around anymore and friends......HUH I don't even tell them anything. When they ask I tell them I'm fine, otherwise they act like either one I am a bore, or two I get the question, "why, why is your back like that?". What a stupid question. Do I ask a diabetic why do you have sugar problems. It's like I did this to myself. Sorry I'm just getting tired and done. Take care all and try to hang in better than I am.
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