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I want my rods and screws taken out!!!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Here is my follow up. I really cant handle the pain anymore, the pain is worse now than before I had the fusion done. I have no pain meds because the doctor does not want to prescribe anything. He hasn't given me a prescription since 2004. I tell him I'm just dealing with the pain everyday and he says "that's good, keep up the good work". I want this taken out but I am part of the Flexi-Core study. I was one of 9 people in Utah who had this procedure done. Does anyone know any good results from having their hardware taken out? If anyone is from Utah, my doctor was Dr. Brodke. Like I said before he did an excellent job except for my husband told me they lost me 3 times in the recovery room and had to bring me back to life, something to do with the anesthesia. Am I honestly just stuck with this stuff in my back or can I or should I have them removed. I can only see my Dr. once a year now since they pay me $75 to fill out study paperwork. I don't know if I should go see another Orthopedic surgeon/Neurologist since he is one of the best at the University of Utah. Thanks to the few people who have responded, this has been a great site to get a lot of information from.



  • Absolutely there are people who have had success with pain reduction after hardware removal, like me (you can click on the links in my signature line below to read my story) BUT this is only if your hardware is indeed causing your pain issues.

    Statistics that I have seen (and there are not that many studies around) are that somewhere between 10% and 20% of spine fusion patients may end up with further surgery to have their hardware removed. Other stats that I have seen at one stage said that the chance of doctors positively identifying that a patients' hardware is causing pain-related issues prior to surgery is only 50:50. But, don't get hung up too much on statistics - these should be used as a rough guide only.

    What tests has your surgeon carried out to determine whether your hardware is causing your pain, or is this just a 'hunch' that you have? MRI with contrast, plain x-rays, injections around the pedicle screws are all used to try and identify whether pain could be as a result of hardware.

    Most fusion patients happily live with their hardware inside for the rest of their lives - it's not usually removed unless there are good reasons to remove it as it involves another round of major surgery and a lengthy recovery period.

    Finally, it sounds as if you may have only ever consulted with your initial surgeon after your surgery, despite all these ongoing issues. I would strongly recommend that you find a way to seek a second opinion from another spine specialist (either an Orthopedic surgeon or Neurosurgeon - it does not matter which at this point so long as they are highly experienced in the spine).

    All the best... Bruce
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • With all the pain you are having, I would definitely opt for a second opinion. Would this be a problem?
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  • I would first get a second opinion, even though you said you already had "the best", don't just jump into having your hardware removed, it could make things worse, not to mention, ewwwww,.... having surgery again? Most of us lumbar fusion patients, (I had a 3 level 9 months ago, and doing great, slowly....(but great compared to before???, no comparison) my hardware is going to be my best friend the rest of my life. It really only bothers me when twisting I can feel it, or it hurts, especially when rolling over to my other side in bed, or when I'm down on all fours on the floor doing my PT excersises.

    But please, get another opinion to find out if that's the issue, it could be something else. Most of us, the biggest percentage of us spinal fusion people, just have our hardware stay in.
  • hey terry

    i have lots of hardware in my c1c2. i am 9 weeks post op and i can actually feel the muscles getting caught on the screws and rods. it snaps and pops and crackles. it is painful occasionally.

    going to try and live with it. the posterior surgery was brutal. i had a bonus surgery when the wire slipped the first time and the bone graft fell out.

    let us know how u make out.
  • Hi terry,

    I am with everyone else on this one!
    Please if at all possible try and get a second opinion! I think to have a fresh set of eyes looking at your case may shed some light on things.

    I just had Fusion ACDF on C 4-6 with titanium plate and screws...no rods so I do not know what that would feel like, although I do know what a posterior approach to the neck/spine feels like and I have to say that when I had a posterior cervical foraminotoy of C 3-4 4-5 It hurt me much worse post operatively than the ACDF anterior approach did.

    If you don't mind me asking how did you injur your neck and what levels were fused...The upper leves like roxy???

    I am so sorry for all the pain. On other thing that I would try and find out is how and who might want to help control the pain issue...there just seems to be no reason to live with such pain. I am so sorry about all your going through.
    Hang in there and let us all know how your doing!!

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  • Terry, I received your PM but unfortunately could not reply as you have restricted people from replying, so I will make a couple of hopefully helpful comments here.

    X-rays are absolutely important to have now if you have not had any for several years. If your hardware is indeed at fault, then a plain x-ray coul show this (e.g. broken screw). Also an MRI (with contrast usually as you have hardware inside) is necessary to see whether you have any other new issues causing your pain. A lot can have happened with your back since your initial surgery 4 1/2 years ago and there could be a lot of reasons for this pain that you have.

    all the best... Bruce
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

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