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What does it feel like to have hardware?

Shell74Shell74 Posts: 300
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I know there is a large variety or levels and hardware, but I would just like to know in general what it typically feels like.

My doctor said I shouldnt be able to feel anything with a 1 level fusion at L5-S1. I am 7 weeks post op TLIF and having tugging and poking feelings. Especially when I lay flat, sit back against a chair or reach my arms forward. I feel like something is pushing out the center. This is located mid inscision to about 2 inches above the top.

I am slightly concerend that I may have scar tissue or adhesions forming as this happened to my knee and shoulder. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Thanks a bunch,


  • Hi Shell, I say my hardware feels like I have a vice cinched down tight in my spine. I have a continually tight feeling over the L4-5 area that is more noticeable when I move. I also feel a tightness up to L1 when I round my back at all. My surgeon opened me up from L1 to S2, still don't quite understand why. They did use an O-arm(computer quided imagery for screw insertion) that has a stereotactic frame that has to be attached to the spinous process of one vertebrae that they are not working on, they attached it to L3 cause S1 was too small. So I too have thought about scar tissue and wonder if there is anything I can do about it. I massage my incision with vit E oil and cocobutter twice a day, but thats superficial. I asked my surgeon if I will ever not feel like I have a vice in my back and he said yes, eventually. So guess time will tell. Take care and have a great day. I am off to see my psycho doc and get a massage :) , >:D< :* Darla(Cali-Sue)
  • Like you, I feel what I have assumed is the hardware when I lie down, lean back, reach forward , etc. A friend told me that feeling would lessen over time. Maybe it is not hardware but is scar tissue???
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  • I have been fortunate enough that I do not feel a thing! However, at 11 weeks out, I am still under the no BLT restriction. I will occasionaly feel a little stiffness in the area near the incision site, but the muscle relaxers take care of that. I have more problem with my hips and groin than anything else.

  • yes i just started feeling it this week hun.
    when i lay flat. up against the chair etc. dr said normal.
    i will tell you for most it does go away.
    last yr around the 6 month mark, i felt it if i bent backwards wrong. but all the other symptoms of feeling it went away.
    you will get there!!!! >:D< ;)
  • Shell,

    I don't feel a thing, although I have two titanium rods, eight screws, and a bone fusion stimulator inserted during my three-level fusion. But some people who have swellings in the area may be able to feel something. Your surgery was only 7 weeks ago, so maybe your soft tissues are still healing, and that is what you are aware of. If it gets bothersome, it is always a good idea to give your surgeon a call.

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  • Sounds like I am "normal", well as close as I can be.

    My doctor has sent very good reports to my PCP, I feel its going slowly but I am very impatient. Another 7 weeks till we consider therapy and removing the brace. Seems my doctor is very conservative I guess.

    Thanks all,
  • I don't "think" I can feel my screws and rods...awesome but I am very tight, but figure i am supposed to be. I can't do backwards at all. No pain but absolutely no movement atall.!LOL!

    I have a pulling and tightness, even more this 3rd op round. I am sure it is scar tissue / healing stuff going on.

    My BMI is about 25 (I am not skinny but not fat either) and can't feel anything when i poke...Only sore "bruised" tissue!

    Does that help?
  • I can, without a doubt, feel my hardware. I can actually tell which screws are poking into my muscles. I asked my surgeon and she said you most definitely can feel it. I can feel them by running my fingers over my back. My back doesn't have much meat on it, so maybe that's why, but yeah, I can feel my hardware inside AND out. I feel the tugging, too. Then when I touch the screw that is the problem, it hurts to rub my hand over it.
  • sounds weird. I am a bit "scared" touching my scar and back - I do not like how it feels anymore but have to massage cream every day to help stop adhesions.

    Its horrible. Tomorrow I will poke :& more and see if I can feel anything else! :&
  • hey lo
    i had c1 c2 fusion and i swear i can feel the rods and screws too. i do feel pain when i run my hand over it too. i thought i was the only one. i am only six weeks post op. maybe i am expecting to much. lol
    i am off the pain meds but i still do have minimal pain.
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