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possible third surgery

My regular doctor today told me he wants me to have a third back surgery, this time to remove the hardware from the past two. I have been in excruciating pain for the last year! He changed me to fentanyl patches today and told me if the one patch isn't helping much or not at all by the third day, he wants me to leave it on and put on another patch... then in three more days to take off the first patch for a new one and so on. He also has me on Percocet 10/325's, naproxen 500's, lidoderm patches 1-2 every other 12 hours(12 on and 12 off), stool softener plus laxative, laxative suppositories (as needed), vitamin c, iron, melatonin,benadryl, etc... I feel like a pharmacy! Anyways,I am a 35 yr old female... I had my first surgery 4/9/09 and it was a 2 level PLIF (L4-S1) with hardware and cages... all was MOSTLY ok for 3 years... then last June it flared up again. I had another surgery 9/6/12 and they did another PLIF (this time they added L3-L4 to the old fusion and put in new hardware. The surgeon was the same as the first one and he stated that I had A LOT of arthritis on my spine (WAY MORE THEN HE WAS EXPECTING especially for my age) he our course said I need to lose weight. It has been 8 months since that surgery and I have NEVER gotten better! I have lost my job and have filed for disability. I can barely walk and or stand some days and lately sitting even 10 minutes hurts. Has anyone reading this ever had to have the hardware removed? What does it entail? Is it as rough of a surgery as the other 2 were? The first one wasn't bad as back surgeries go, but the second one was HORRENDOUS!! I had to have 3 ounces of fluid drained after I was released... the nurse also told me the night I was released I could shower, I thought it was to soon, but she knows what she is saying,right? WRONG! I ended passing out! Luckily my husband was there to catch me so I didn't hit the floor! I called the surgeons office the next day and was told to ABSOLUTELY DO NOT tale a shower for 2 weeks! Sorry I am WAY off subject,so back to the hardware removal, help please!
2 more bulging discs; spinal stenosis; osteoarthritis; reverse lordosis at L3; degenerative disc disease; inflammatory joint disease; nerve root cysts at T1-T3; 2 level PLIF 4/9/09 and 3 level PLIF 9/6/12 with hardware both times


  • Hi there!

    He wants you to have this surgery to simply remove the hardware? Am I reading that correctly? If that's the case, then is it because he believes the hardware is creating these pain levels, or is he going to fuse your adjacent level(s) and then remove hardware from previous fusions?

    At any rate, I suppose I would do whatever is necessary to lower your pain levels so that you're able to require less medications. I don't blame you for saying that you feel "like a human pharmacy." I also hope you are able to gain relief! :-)

  • AllMetalAAllMetal Posts: 1,189
    edited 05/08/2013 - 4:18 PM
    Strange... I could never go for that one. I've always showered (with supervision) days after my surgeries. I have had hardware repairs and those aren't nearly as bad as the actual fusion. I have also had hardware removed, but it was designed to NEVER come out, was stainless steel, and was form the 80's. Those top two rods in my picture are what is left of this old hardware. It use to extend down to about the end of the middle two rods, and that portion took about 10 hours of surgery total just to remove.... I've heard the titanium is not nearly as difficult to remove. I would definitely discuss that with the surgery. And if it were me, I'd get a second opinion from a doctor that allowed showering... I can't fathom a reason you weren't allowed to shower due to a one/two level fusion. (please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should be doing that unsupervised, nor even the next day.... but after a few days you should be well enough to shower with supervision and a shower chair). Best of luck to you!
    33yo mom of two. My surgical history...preadolescence scoliosis, kyphosis, and a hot mess.... 5 spine surgeries and lots of items added I wasn't born with (titanium, peek, surgical steel). Guess cremation is out. TSA loves me.
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  • I've read on here stories about people who had screws and the screw(s) went in too far and touched a nerve.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I am usually using my phone to make posts, but for some reason it is a SERIOUS pain in the butt when I try to post or reply on this site, so I had to break out the old laptop... LOL! I went to the "new" surgeon for my second appointment with him last Wednesday. He told me my options at this point are to have another surgery and he will go in and widen my spinal column around L1 and L2 to help with the spinal stenosis, but he said he can't gty that it will help or possible stop all the pain. He also said I am disabled and he will be filling out the necessary paperwork to help me get it. He said my other option would be to have a spinal cord stimulator implanted... he said they will do it on a temporary basis and if it helps, it will become permanent. Has anyone had one? I have been reading up on it and I think I will give it a shot. I am all for trying something to reduce the amount of pain I am in. Like today, I can barely get out of bed because of the pain and I am on 2 fentanyl 25mcg/hr patches and percocet 10/325's every 4 hours! I hope this finds everyone in little to no pain and doing awesome!!! :)
    2 more bulging discs; spinal stenosis; osteoarthritis; reverse lordosis at L3; degenerative disc disease; inflammatory joint disease; nerve root cysts at T1-T3; 2 level PLIF 4/9/09 and 3 level PLIF 9/6/12 with hardware both times
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