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getting hardware removed

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I am a little over 1 yr post op L4-S1 fusion 2 rods and 6 screws surgery was done through my back. No more pain shooting through buttock and down leg, strength has returned to leg. But,I am still having significant pain issues (can not tolerate sitting over 2 hrs at a time, R foot still goes numb,and now have significant pain in back (that I did not have pre-surgery). My NS is suggesting removing hardware. He stated it would involve the lifting of all the muscles again and "A bit" of recup time. Has anyone had this and does this releave the pain and numbness issues? This was my 3rd surgery, prior was S1-L5 disc, and L5-L4 lamin.


  • Tmas464,

    I have seen several threads dealing with hardware removal. If you search around, I am sure you can find some info on it. I seem to recall one statistics saying that about 10-15% of fusion patients may need to have their hardware removed, usually after they fused.

    Good look in your search.

  • As kin said, roughly 15% of fusion patients end up having their hardware removed again in order to try and reduce ongoing pain issues. However, from research that I read somewhere, there might only be a 50/50 chance that the hardware is the culprit.

    often a plain x-ray can see if there are hardware issues, like a broken screw. Your doctor can also inject around the screws to try and isolate a screw as being the cause of pain.

    I had my hardware removed and it was successful. I had an issue with one pedicle screw, which was evident from a plain x-ray. Recovery was easier than the initial fusion, for sure. You can click on the link in my signature for more information about my story.

    Hope this helps.
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

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  • I do get x-rays every 3 month visit and had another MRI in June. NS did not see what is causing my issues. I have also gone thru 3-3shot series of injections to back between surgeries (no noticeable relief). I am not very educated as most people on this site it seems, as I do not know a lot of the abbreviations and terms used. I know I have degenerative disc disease along with the injuries to my discs (excessive sports and was a commercial electrician at 5'3&3/4" and 130 lbs female). I had first disc herniation (S1-L5)and surgery to remove tissue and clear nerve openings in '97, felt great and went back to competitive sports and heavy work. Disc bulge with nerve issues (L5-L4) and surgery to remove tissue and again clear out nerve openings in '04 which went very good but had to give up competitive sports to keep electrician job due to residual pain. Had to give up electrical work, got an office job, continued to have buttock and leg issues,and had fusion L4-S1 on 6-21-07 and have been having issues since surgery but did get relief of the majority of nerve issues, just not the ones listed above. I am used to tolerating pain but this is really messing with my work and everyday life and my NS says he doesn't know why I hurt, but we could try removing hardware and see what happens, Is this whole back thing just trial and error? X(
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