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Hardware Removal Surgery

dapopo315ddapopo315 Posts: 40
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:44 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
First off, hope all is good with my Spiney Friends. I had a doctor's appointment today, now I'm scheduled for surgery on Monday at 11:30am. I had a hardware block on June 3rd that actually gave me some relief for a few days. So Monday I'll be getting my hardware from my TLIF L4-5 removed.

My doctor said he was going to check my fusion done 8 month ago) to see if I am fully fused. If I'm not he's taking a bone graft from my hip & repacking the areas not fused.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's just a hardware removal & nothing else. If anyone has any info on hardware removal surgery I'd love to hear about it.

Any help here would be appreciated. Thanks in advance


  • Good Morning,
    I had a PLIF L5-S1 in Sept 08 & hardware removal in Jan 10. Almost the whole time the hardware was in I had LBP and spasms mainly on the right side. The surgery lasted 40 minutes max out patient. I went back to work at the three week mark and did OK, but no BLT until the six week mark. I knew the difference the next day and was glad to have it out. The spasms stopped in less than a week. Yours being a TLIF I take it they have to go back in the front again? If so you may have a longer healing time than I did. The surgery pain was a walk in the park as compared to the fusion. Hope all goes well for you.
    God Bless,
  • I had my hardware from fusion removed past dec; also. I had the hardware block done before i was going to go in for lami surgery anyway. So it was clear to me that hardware was just causing more pain in my legs but i been fused already for over 2 years . As Highwayman said, Removal surgery is nothing compaired to the fusion surgery even along with my lami along with it. Recovery was much faster then fusion surgery. Only question i would have for you Dapopo315 is how could dr set up hardware removal surgery without knowing for sure if you are fused yet?. I think you said yur fusion was only 8 months ago and i thought for some it takes longer to fuse even up to a year. Usualy the exray i thought confirms the fusion of how well it took. If person is not fused and he goes in to take the hardware out and realises its premature in doing so, seems like a big price to pay just to find out if fusion has taken yet or not. I think if it was me i would be questioning that. If by some chance if i had to wait a few more moths and its confirmed my fusion took very well, only then i would agree to have the surgery to go in to remove hardware. Thats just my opinion. Best of luck to you. Let us know what hapens. Alexhurting'
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
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  • And do they only do it if there are complications? Hubby is due for a fusion next week and I am wondering if they will end up taking the hardware out again?

  • Usually the hardware is expected to stay in place for life.
    Occassionally though, there are problems with it causing pain, and then it is removed.
    It is a much simpler surgery than the fusion surgery.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    I had hardware put in for my L4-S1 fusion in 1993. Last year I had problems with the L3 vertebrae, slipping forward since I have spondylolisthesis. I also had just started to feel, in 2009, some pain I thought might be hardware related. But only likely due to the bulkiness of my 1993 hardware. There have been many advances in hardware and the surgeon said that indeed my old stuff was huge and could have been causing some of the pain (I had pain to the touch over the areas with screws. Not if you just touched it but if I would get a massage, sit in a hard chair with a hard back for too long, etc).

    My new hardware from February 2010 is more sleek and far less bulky. If all goes well it will stay in for life...unless L2 chooses to do what L3 did. But it took L3 17 years to slip forward so I feel I may be okay for a while.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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  • I'm finding that the screws are causing me some issues. Not sure the rods are. Like SpineAZ. The lower pair of screws I can feel easily if you push on them. Lay down on the floor or sit in a wooden chair. I'm getting some tingling in one leg, some pain in the other and some in my back. The more I exercise to build up the muscles the more I feel it. Seems counter productive. I talked to surgeon about it at 6 month visit. He said wait until 9 months out before we discuss hardware removal. Obviously he is concerned about complete fusion before dealing with that.
  • My doc thinks mine may need to come out but he wants to wait until 1 year out. He is also going to do a thin slice CT to confirm fusion before he goes in blind to take out hardware. He wants to know in advance if he is taking out hardware or putting more in. I'm surprised your doctor hasn't ordered the CT ahead of time so he will be prepared for the surgery. An hour surgery could turn into 5 if he has to replace the hardware and refuse your spine.
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