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Waiting to have Hardware Removed

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,208
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone! Long time no post. I've been so busy trying to feel better this summer, I don't think I got on more than a couple times.
My back and leg pain is still the same. I did some more PT in preparation for my hardware removal surgery which was supposed to be a go this month. However, my repeat CT scan didn't look as fused as the doc wants it so we are postponing once again. He told me it could be 3 months, or 6 months before I get it out. Of course this is really hard for me since my disability runs out in December and I had high hopes of getting back to work by January.
My 1 year anniversary is October 16th n 18th, from my fusion of course. I don't know who else is coming up on a year, but we should have some kind of cyber party I think <:P . <br />As before, I'd love to hear from anyone out there who is waiting to have their hardware taken out or thinks they need to. Waiting to fuse can be long and frustrating, as I've become aware, and we can support eachother along the way :-C
Hope to hear from y'all, I've missed you guys.


  • do I sound like Pink Floyd?
    lets see...

    married white female seeking online companionship with male or female, post spinal fusion, preferably with hardware related complications, to share stories, experiences, and friendship. Please post here if interested. K Thanx Bai! :D
  • :))( :))( =)) =)) Your second post made me laugh! I sent you a PM. I do not have hardware issues, at least not yet, I just feel like I have a vice in my back squeezing my bones together though (well I guess in a sense I do :)). My NS says it will go away eventually. What I do have is owie SI joint pain from my PT sessions. Hopefully some more qualified Spineys will answer your ADD ;) I am however awaiting fusing. No interbody yet, but do have some posterior-lateral fusion going on. Good-luck to you in getting fused so you can get that hardware out, >:D< Cali-Sue
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  • :-C How's it hangin?
    Thanks for responding to my personals ad :))(
    You aren't too far out yet, but hopefully you will follow the normal recovery and feel great by 16 weeks.
    I've known all along that my hardware had to come out. They barely got it in apparently.
    Hope things are nice where you are. Have a good Nite!
    -Jenn [(
  • jen jen jen look what the cats pulled out =)) =))

    so very nice to hear from ya, gheesh ya have to make a ad so ppl come to see u [( :X :X :X :X

    well darlin yeah mine had to be removed along with the grafts and i had all new put back in. im a walking robot. ok well i do feel as stiff as a robot, but not that strong yet :& :&

    i just wanted to wish you the very best of luck in the you fuse all the wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.
    is the hardware causing you increased pain?????
    so sorry that it is... :*

    keep us up to date on how things go, so that we can bug you through the process!! =))

    terri >:D< >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • >:D<
    Missed you, girl! How you been? got the redo, eh? why did they have to start over again? Not fusing?
    I am almost complete, just some posterior space on the L4-L5, but otherwise solid. I've been using the BGS for 9 months now, you'd think I'd be ready already.
    My hardware has been killin' me since they put it in.... literally. You remember, one of the screws popped through to my spinal canal and I had to go in emergently same day and have that one taken out. They are all too big and causing me alot of grief. still on heavy narc's to get through. Unfortunately dr says 3-6 more months, so I'm looking into an SCS to get me through til then.
    Its so nice to hear from you. I hope you fuse up quick this time.
    -Jenn :X
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  • Okay Jenn, now you've gotten me interested about your case. You had a 360 fusion right? So was it a posterior screw that ended up in your spinal column? Did they take xrays in the OR? I guess I have a hard time understanding how that can happen @) . My surgeon uses Stealth 3-D navigation with the O-ARM to place the screws, so they actually watch on a screen while they drill them in to see that they go in right (it is like an intra-operative CT scan). I do have one that just popped through the other side and he says it is fine like that, stronger actually. Looks freaky to me, you can barely see it on my avatar in L5. Do you know what hardware they put in you? I have the Zimmer ST360. I am using a BGS too, have to use it for 9 months, 30 minutes a day. I've forgotten a few times :P . Anyway, I find this Spiney stuff all very interesting, makes me want to be an OR nurse sometimes, although that wouldn't probably be the best place for a Spiney, as anesthetized pts are kinda heavy to move around ;)
  • hi Sue,
    I apparently have tiny pedicle bones of which the dr was also apparently unaware. he used the smallest screws available for adult lumbar placement- 6mm. But they were not small enough. I really don't know how they screw went through, it might have peeled back some bone frag into the spinal cord, scraping like. They rushed me to CT shortly after recovery cuz I was screamin' and saw what looked like bone frag in the spinal canal. When they took the screw out the bone went back into place....weird huh? the dr looked in my spinal canal with a tiny microscope for a long time but never found any loose bone pieces.
    I asked him later about the screw size and he agreed I probably should have had pediatric sized screws. I didn't ask him, Why the F--k didn't he use them then?! Trying not to scare him since he is still my dr and I do believe he feels very very bad about the whole thing.
    I later asked his pA who does the pre-surgical measuring of the films to determine screw size.... he said they don't. They have a probe that measures inside during the surgery, so they had no idea I needed the smaller screws and had none there when they took me to the OR.
    When all is said and done and my hardware is out and I'm better, I plan to have a long talk with him regarding my opinions in the matter and a preference to have postponed the surgery rather than use what's 'on hand'. I would have much rather been woken up and waited a day or two til the right sized screws came in.
  • Wow Jenn, that is very interesting. Are you saying they didn't measure the bones prior on the xray to determine the screw size. So it was the posterior part of the operation that created the problem, correct? I am not sure how the screws placed anterior insert into the vertebrae, if they go into the pedicles as well.

    Something I found interesting is right before surgery in the OR holding area, I had to sign a consent for an observer. It was the Zimmer rep who apparently attends many of the surgeries using their products. I presume they are there to make recommendations or such. I invision he comes in with a locked case containing hundreds of thousands of dollars of cages, screws, rods, etc. and helps the surgeon select the appropriate size :))( Probably just a fantasy of mine, but seems like a good idea ;) I keep forgetting to ask my surgeon about it. I am curious what he has to say about the rep. At first I though it was going to be a consent for a resident to attend, and I was going to pitch a fit, cause I had already told him, NO residents allowed :T ! But hey it was the Zimmer guy, so I had no problem with that.

    I am still a little concerned if that tip of screw could be scraping on something. It is so miniscule that he says it doesn't matter, but it looks creepy to me. Angelback says hers it like that too. Take care, >:D< Cali-Sue
  • Thank you for all of your poasts they are helfpul. My wife thinks it is all in my head and on the verge of leaving me -I think.

    All of the pre-op symptoms of my L5-S1 are gone after I had a TLIF procedure. However, It feels like someone is punching me in the back 24/7. Almost like s steel rod is jammed in there. I am taking more meds now than I did before the surgery but my surgeon said give it some more time. Surgery was Feb 2008. he just mentioned that in a small % of cases the hardware has to be removed but not until one year.

    I take 30 mg of Oxycontin in am and again in evening and another 15-30 mg of breakthrough oxycodone. I was taking Valium as a muscle relaxer but my PM Doc felt the potenital for dependency was growing. I was doing ok until my Phys Therapy ran out and I have an out of pocket expense of 2 to 3 hundred a month.

    I feel great in aquatherapy but as soon as I am out of the pool it all comes back in an hour. I wish I could float in the pool for 10 hours a day.

    It is helfpul to know I am not the only one. My wife is a great person and has been dealing with this on and off for 6 years since my car accident and 2 back surgeries, but I think she cannot take much more.

    The other day in frustration she felt that it would be better for her to be a single parent than to have 3 kids and me to take care of (after a midnight run to the hospital because no meds were breaking pain)

    If you know of any better meds that I can take and still work or a better solution. I do not have disability because I own my own business. I am lucky that I can do most work from home but when I have to travel it is tough
    and I usually end up medicated forthe next 2 days whether it is by plane train or autombile.

    Thanks for letting me vent!

  • Keep the faith my friend! What you need is adequate pain control. How do you get it, you ask?
    First you use medication. Fentanyl patches are my best friend cuz they last for 2 days straight, no ups n downs, and they kiil 75% of my pain right off the top. Their are other extended release meds, mostly pills. I have taken Opana ER for months now. I only take 1 at night any more. They last a good 12 hours and don't make me very tired either.
    Second step, external devices. Obviously heat/ice if it helps. But I also have a TENS unit for home use and its small enough I can wear it all day if I want. I find I wear it most when I have to drive long distances and it gets me through the trip.
    third step, internal devices. Of this I am speaking about an SCS, spinal cord stimulator. This is kind of a biggger deal, but if you are looking at a long wait before getting your hardware out, it may be worth it to you. It is put in during outpatient surgery, leads hooked up to your spinal cord/nerve roots, and a tiny device in the abdomen. You have a remote to control and recharge it. It provides near 100% nerve pain reduction. It does NOT help with mechanical pain. So, if you have nerve pain shooting into your butt and legs, it will help. If you low back is killing you, it may not.
    fourth, but should be first, take care of the cause!!!
    Ding, Ding, Ding! We have a winner! That's right! treat the underlying cause so you can be pain free! Hence, remove hardware, scar tissue, bone overgrowth, etc that is rubbing on your nerves and hurting your back. This step can only be done with the assistance of an agreeable physician..... funny isn't it?

    Sorry, I shouldn't joke around. I totally understand your pain. And, I wish I could help you more. I understand your wife's frustration too. But it's not your fault. Maybe she should call the dr's office and talk to the dr about how your untreated and constant pain is affecting her and your family. Dr's like to hear from upset spouses...sometimes that's the hidden weapon to getting stuff done.
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