should I have my spinal fusion metal removed?
I am fused from L3 dwn thru S1. Two rods and 8 bolts put in through my back, and 3 cages with their bolds which were put in through my stomach. I am 62 and fusion was done Jan 2008. I do not have pain from the surgery, as the word is defined, and none of the bolts are broken. I have annual exrays (not ct scans) by my orthopedic surgeon and everything always looks good. My problem is my mobility in not being able to bend well, in any manner, terrible terrible aching in my lower back muscles 24/7. My doctor tells me when ever I am ready he will remove the metal but, not guarantee it correct the issues I am having. Says its an individual type thing. It could, yet it may not. I realize I am over the hill but, my quality of life is down the drain. I was very very active as a "do it yourself" man, all my life. Now its should I do it or should I not do it? My family says do it... but my mind tells me that this is for ME alone to decide for MY OWN future well being, or maybe not. Will the surgery be just as painfull after 2 1/2 years with this stuff in me all covered with bone, which it is, including the months of recovery? Will I develop an infection or nerve damage this time around? Or, should I count my blessings and just live out the rest of my life as I am? You can see I'm torn. I don't like not being able to function like I used to..., or somewhere close but, then again isn't the fusion going to limit me anyway? Will my lower back muscles still ache terribly with the metal out? I need feedback from my piers vs the doctor. Please help. Pat
PS. First, at my next visit, I think I should insist on a ct scan for a better picture