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harware removal after 7 year of lumbar fusion

I am 37 years old, 7 years ago I had my fourth lumbar surgery,(L4-S1...fusion with rods..screws..cages). Took me a GOOD FULL year to recover from the surgery itself, but had ALL four surgeries in a 2 1/2 year period, so pretty much hadn't recovered from one before having another..first three were not fusions and did not relieve pain at all..Anyway, here I am now 7 years after my fusion and having ALOT of pain in that area. I have ALWAYS, even since fusion, had alot of pain, but considering how much I was in before I tried not to complain. Came a LONG ways actually. From being nearly bed ridden for a while, then graduated to a walker, then cane, so my pain did get ALOT better. But gradually through the years, ESPECIALLY the last 6 months or so REALLY haveing ALOT MORE pain. Really gets me down at times right now. So my surgeon suggested having the hardware removed. He will be doing "injections" above and below my fusion to see if I get any pain relief, if so that will tell him for sure that my pain is being caused from the hardware. My concern is being soo long since having the actual fusion though. Just wandering if anyone has had it removed several years after. How was the recovery? How long was the recovery? Did it relieve your pain? and so on...


  • Hey, I had a PLIF at L5-S1 in 2008. I had loads of pain from the hardware until it was taken out 13 - 14 months later. Recovery was a piece of cake compared to the PLIF. I was only off work two weeks and really watched my BLT's for several months. The NS did not do hardware blocks because I could put my finger right on the screw heads. The hardware blocks will most likely tell you what you need to know. After the hardware was out my pain levels dropped from 7-8 to 3. I am now looking at another PLIF at L4-L5 in January; sure hope the hardware does not give me any problems this time. Take care.
    God Bless,
  • edited 12/07/2012 - 7:52 AM
    I'm fused L3-S1 and had all those same issues you described. I had my hardware removed at 25 which was 12 years post fusion and I'm 34 now so almost another 10 years since they removed the hardware. Life was so much better after they removed the hardware (until recently but it has nothing to do with my fusion I think) - recovery for me was just as hard as the initial fusion but it didn't seem to take as long to get back to a normal state. I still had to do the physical therapy and was out of work for 12 weeks. Once recovered though- pain was a dull ache and didn't even need tylenol for a long while.. Good luck to you
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