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What Post-Op inst. after Hardware Removal?

saltzworksssaltzworks Posts: 1,032
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I've not been able to really discuss much of my hardware removal with my dr. - so I'll do the next best thing - talking to you all(well, actually you all are MUCH better at telling it like it is).

I was wondering what Post Op instructions you were sent home with after your hardware removal? What restrictions were you given?

Oh, and how long was the surgery? How long was your hospital stay? (I'm praying for no complications this time!!!)

When I ask the office nurse she is just, oh yeah, that sounds ok. I had asked her if I could plan on going back to work in a week.

What about BLT - are you told to restrict BLT after your hardware is out for those first few months post-op?

I would think you need to be a little bit careful, after all, you've got holes in the bone where the screws used to be.

I know that after my ankle hardware came out the ortho told me to be careful for 6 mo. or so, that it could easily break if I wasn't careful. But that was on the small fibula leg bone - eight screws were taken out and the bone was basically swiss cheese afterwards.

I'll ask the nurses during my pre-op apt., my last one was VERY informative and accurate. I just hope I get someone who is just as knowledgeable this time.

Any information will be MUCH appreciated -and thanks in advance!


  • Talk about stressing!

    The hospital just called me and if I had not asked some questions they would not have gotten me in for any pre-op tests! There were only 2 apts. left between now and my surgery day! Egads.

    Maybe I shouldn't have asked... I keep hoping that my surgery gets delayed. I blew it.

    Oh - and they have me down for same day/outpatient surgery even though the NS's office told me that I should count on being there overnight.

    We'll see. I do so horribly after anesthesia that I'll feel pretty dang lucky if I get discharged within their 23 1/2 hours that they allow.

  • Amy, I missed your previous posts (I don't log in much lately) so I just gather than you are having your hardware removed. Sorry, but I can't give you any advise on that as I did not have that problem, but maybe somebody with experiences in that area will reply.

    I just wanted to let you know that I am keeping you in my thoughts and hope everything will go well with your procedure.


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  • Thanks my friend :)

    I really wish I could keep my hardware - I'm going to miss it I think. Too bad it keeps messing me up.

    Maybe if I didn't work out - not that I can do that really. Whenever I take a week off from my workouts my charley-horse cramps crank themselves up a few notches into almost continual spasms.
  • Thank you Robin!

    I've been starting to remember that after my original surgery I was in the hospital for 9 days. An incision feels a LOT different after a week.

    I do so horribly on the pain meds that I hope the hospital really evaluates me and makes the best decision on whether to cut me loose or keep me. I'll probably be my own best advocate though. I'll just have make sure I listen to my body :)
  • When I had my hardware out I felt good, but was kept overnight. There were not alot of restrictions. Only the no BLT because of the incision. They do the same incision as the first time. I felt good the next day. I didnt go back to work, cause I still am having alot of pain. They just did MRI and CT last week to see what is still wrong. I had another disc with tears and so I am guessing that is the culprit. I am hoping you have a good outcome as most people do.
    If you dont have any complications, and I am almost sure you shouldnt, you should feel really good the next day after the surgery, just incision pain. I felt pretty good for a couple days, then bango. Thats why I think its the other disc. '
    If you have any questions, just ask. I know that they test the fusion, to make sure it is good and solid, but advise to take it easy until your surgery heals and I never got beyond that. Hope this helps. Good Luck and let me know how you do. Love, Robin
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  • The Dr will probably keep you overnight if you want to, and I am sure you will feel better in the morning. You will feel amazingly well the next day. It is much easier than the first one. I was surprised, just dissappointed it didnt last. Again, Good Luck!
  • Thanks again Robin. As much as I want this surgery to be uneventful and easy I am worried that I'll rush things a bit too much.

    Of course, if I'm wrapped around an emesis basin holding onto it for dear life I think at that point I'll know that I need to take things just a tad bit slower ;)
  • Hi Amy,

    I just had my hardware (facet bolts) removed on Wednesday, 12/23. Yes, I had my surgery right before Xmas.

    I came home on Friday, 12/25 in the early evening. I may have been able to come home on Thursday, but my surgeon accidentally nicked the spinal dura while removing some inflammation, causing a spinal fluid leak. He repaired the hole, but I was restricted to laying flat for 2 days.

    I saw my surgeon the day after the procedure and he allowed me to slowly increase my incline, starting at 20%. He said if we went too quickly and the hole opened up again, I would have to be flat for 5 days! On Friday, I think I walked 3-4 times in the hallway before heading home.

    The initial restrictions are meant to protect the incision. My initial restrictions are the same ones as immediately after the fusion surgery. The only difference is not having to use the back brace (well, that's not entirely true). I think at my 6 week follow up appointment, they will allow me to do the same things I did at the 3 month mark following the fusion.

    I am currently using my soft back brace because I woke up on January 1 with a large damp spot on the back of my sweat pants. It seems that a small pouch of fluid formed at the bottom of my incision and broke open (not unusual). I went to the ER and the on-call doctor from my surgeon's office said to apply a pressure bandage and use the back brace for additional pressure. The good news is that this is not serious and the drainage appears to have stopped.

    Besides that, my recovery seems to be going very well. I don't have nearly the same amount of pain as I did after the initial fusion. I am also walking with a much longer stride than I did at the same point after the first surgery. However, sitting is difficult, just like the first time.

    Good luck with your hardware removal. Everything I've heard is that this recovery is a cake-walk compared to the initial fusion.

  • Mark - THANK YOU for the post!

    I remember reading aobut you going in for Christmas.

    I have to say that I looked up the dural tear stuff yesterday as it sounds like a common complication. If anything, I have learned that I can be a magnet for complications lately.

    I'm really hoping to go back to work in a week. I have the extra time if I need it but if at all possible I want to not use my vacation time for ANOTHER surgery. My work is a combination of walking, standing and sitting - a librarian, so I can stand as much as needed an sit as little as possible - we have tall reference desks.

    Does it seem like you will get rid of the constant backache? You said you feel better than after the fusion and it seems you will heal faster this time too. I don't know if I want to get my hopes up that high - you know, hoping to get rid of the backache.

    If I can just get rid of the zingers when I hit the screws - that would be nice.
  • Hi Amy,

    I think it's too soon to tell if the constant backache will be gone for good.

    Ever since the hardware removal, I don't have the usual backache (just regular post-op pain) and no longer have tingling down my legs.

    However, I experienced the same reaction after the initial fusion surgery, too. That time the relief lasted until approximately week 7 or 8, when all the swelling went down. At that point the constant backache returned with a vengeance.

    After this hardware removal procedure, my surgeon felt that the inflammation he removed (attributed to the facet bolts) was probably the cause of the constant backache. I guess time will tell.
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