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Titanium Cage Removal

I am wondering if there is anyone who has had a titanium cage implanted and then later removed?? In searching through the previous forums, I saw that there was a lady named Ann that talked to a surgeon about removing her titanium cage last year but there was no followup as to whether or not she had the surgery or how it went. This information would be most helpful as I search for a neurosurgeon qualified to remove a titanium cage that was implanted in 2010 and is rubbing against a ganglion nerve root at L3/L4.


  • i had mine removed after my first fusion to see if it improved the pain. it did not. i had to wait for 2 years for everything to heal and to stay in place. i was in the hospital for 3 days as compared to 10 days after my first fusion. they had me hooked up to the piv for pain, then after 2 days back to oral meds. i believe the pain relief was minimal not dramatic. i am not sure what other reason for removal would be except for pain relief. they gave me a whole baggie of metal rods and screws. i could not believe how many pieces of metal were in me. i saw the x-ray but i did not know how much until i saw it in person. it was not as bad pain wise as a fusion and if you think it would help, go for it if your dr thinks it would be a wise move.
    the surgery took about 3 hours, it was 10-12 for my first fusion. remember i had the fusion and removal about 13-14 years ago and i think the surgery is different now.
    good luck
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I am familiar with rods and screws being removed, I am referring to an xlif procedure that replaces a herniated disc with a titanium cylinder that fits in between your vertebrae- they've only been doing it since 2006. Your bone grows threw and around the holes in the cage. The surgery would be pretty extensive, I think you are referring to a different operation but thanks for responding.
  • Would you mind sharing with me about your surgery and recovery? My dad suffers a tremendous amount of nerve pain in his leg because of the misplaced cage. We have gone down the pain control route and he has a pain pump but he is so young still (56) so I'm always searching for answers/help. Until recently I was under the impression that it was not possible to remove the cage once it fused. How are you doing since the surgery?
  • Your dad had the XLIF procedure and now the cage has shifted into the ganglion nerve bundle at L3-4? This type of revision surgery has some extra complications due to the abdominal blood vessels in the area of the vertebral levels involved.
    I would check with the largest hospitals in the biggest cities near you, to try to find someone who has lots of experience in doing this type of revision surgery since it is a complicated one,
    How far has the cage shifted from it's original location? What does your father's surgeon recommend as far as treatment options go to prevent more damage to the ganglion nerve bundle?
  • Hi Sandi, my dads cage has not shifted from where it was implanted, unfortunately his post-surgical MRI states that the cage is out of place but somehow it got over looked and was not discover until after his back had fused. We have already gone through the spinal center at a large hospital and were told nothing could be done and were referred to pain management. He has an implanted pain pump which I thought was the end of the road so to speak until I came across Ann's post about having her cage removed. I am hitting a road block finding a doctor who has done this procedure as its not the type of thing you can just google or even call a hospital and ask about. I got my hopes up that perhaps Ann had had the procedure and would be willing to share her doctors information with me but I haven't been able to get into contact with her yet.
  • Yes, he had an xlif at L3/L4.
  • sandisandi Posts: 6,342
    edited 06/30/2013 - 3:18 PM
    Check your private messages JCru
  • jellyhalljjellyhall Posts: 4,372
    edited 07/03/2013 - 7:15 AM
    I had two titanium cages put into my neck as part of an ACDF surgery.
    The cages were Cespace titanium cages that have 'teeth' to grip the vertebra and hold it in place as the bone grows through the holes to form a fusion.

    When discussing this method of fusing my neck I was concerned that it seemed very minimilistic as there was not going to be any plate with screws or even graft used, so my surgeon reassured me. He said that the cages would be put in by opening up my vertebrae and then closing them onto the teeth of the cage which would hold it in place. He said that as he would cause my vertebrae to bleed they would grow through the holes in the cages to form the fusion as they tried to heal themselves. To give me confidence that these cages would hold he told me about one of his colleagues who needed to remove a misplaced cage two weeks after placing it and had a very difficult time and had to drill it out. I asked him to please make sure that he placed mine correctly!

    Now it may be that the titanium cage that you are talking about is not the same, but if the bone has grown through it I would imagine that it would be very difficult to remove it.

    Please let us know how things turn out. :-)
  • PlumbTuckeredOutPlumbTuckeredOut Philadelphia, PAPosts: 325
    Reading these kinds of threads inspires me to keep doing my PT, having a healthy diet, and taking my meds as prescribed! I know I could very easily send a neurosurgeon's child to college and grad school but I'm hoping to remain comfortable without the extra hardware! I have one screw and a allo graft in my knee and the thought of that makes me uncomfortable. I cannot imagine how I would feel with a cage in my back or neck. But I definitely feel for you guys!

    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...... (Robert Frost)
    I still don't know if I should have taken the one that said, "Caution! Dead End" (Me)
  • RRMRRM Chennai, IndiaPosts: 20
    edited 03/06/2015 - 9:06 PM
    I too have been on the lookout for people who got their Titanium Cages removed since I too suffer from that same misery with one in between my T6-T7 from the outcome of an accident in 2009, and I got the Fixtures supporting the Cage removed in 2011. But I am yet to come across someone who have got their Titanium Cage removed.

    And I just hope that they are able to remove it some time in the near future, and I also wish that Doctors stop doing such unwholesome treatment In the name of Quickfixes where the "Healing is Incomplete." it indeed would be a great relief from the daily trauma that we undergo 24x7x365 due to such unwholesome procedures where we have to suffer the Foreign bodies like the metallic implants for a lifetime.

    Please note, I am not blaming the Doctors here, since they give the treatment in the good hope that their patient will be healed completely. But then how would they ever know the lifelong Trauma, Misery & the Suffering that such Patients undergo unless they get some Guinea pigs like me, isn't it? :'-)

    And as the name suggests, it is "THE" most Uncomfortable, Unbreakable & Invincible prison of a "CAGE" you will ever get to see in this Life. So please beware & think a zillion times before you undergo such quick fix procedures fusing multiple joints on the Spine since it will restrict all the 3 Rotational Degrees of Freedom of Yaw, Pitch & Roll in the fused joints.

    And as of now the hope of removing the Titanium Cage "if it ever happens" can only happen with the advancement in Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine. And I would be a definitely be a willing subject considering all the costs involved in case any of the Neurosurgeons here want to conduct such experiments on the spine. Please do PM me anytime and this here is a link to my Spinal Case History >>> http://goo.gl/z3emSA .... Thank you. :-)
  • Dear all, my father having the same problem, suffering huge and sacractic pain on his leg, back pain.

    1. He is having XLiF procedure on L4-L5 at 30/5/2015, discharged on 3/6/2015. condition is very good.
    2. After 3 weeks time, back pain started, feeling no good. Checked up, found that bacteria infection on implant side. Admitted around 2 months time.
    3. Discharged on 22/9/2015, MRI scanned L4L5 bone had little corrosed because of bacteria infection. Doctor advised to rest more but if feeling numbness and pain again, second operation is to take out the cage, cut a bone from your bottom dummy side, insert to replace the implant.

    So now he is started suffering with the huge pain, serious cramp on leg, even now lying have to be in best position so it wont cause you the pain. Little Rotation also will causing cramp too...now his lef started loss strength, cannot walk. all rotation and movement is limited. As doctor advised, the cage is needed to take out already.

    Will cage removal will eliminate those nightmare pain and back to normal walking person?

    I would like to know if cage had been taken out, how soon is his recovery, i means his leg strength recovery, can walk, no more pain.

    Please, share with me your story. I am really keen to know this. Thanks a lot !!
  • Hi JCru,

    I  know you posted that question 3 years ago. I am hoping you have gotten some answers you can share with me. My mom is in the exact situation your father is. My mom had the surgery and the cage was on the left nerve from the time they put it in. We have seen several surgeon in the major city but everyone is telling her pain management and that nothing can be done. It is sickening to watch her take so many pills that are not going to help her. They are actually causing serious side effects as is to be expected with drugs. My mom is only 51. She had the surgery almost 20 years ago and no one has been able to help her.

    Please share your father's research and if you have found any answers. I agree, you cannot just google this kind of issue.

    You can also email me directly at aghanie7@gmail.com if you would like.
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