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has anyone had to have their hardware removed after a fusion?

Started by LCR on 03/09/2010 5:14pm

I had a fusion L3 L4 L5 to S1 in 2007. my pain has remained everyday for almost 3years. I can tell the pain is from the hardware. My surgeon now says I am one of 1% of his patients that needs to have the hardware removed to hopefully help with this continual pain. I have tried every other option to no avail. Has this happened to anyone else? If so I would love to know your story.

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Just over 20 years ago I had a L4-L5 fusion w/spinal plating. Within 3 months during a monthly exam I found out that 2 of the screws had broken. Due to making sure that the surgery would have time to heal, I had most of the hardware removed one year after the original surgery. There are still 2 screws that are in my back, due to being broken and was told that it would have taken too much of the bone out to drill the screws out. The surgery went really well and I went back to work within a few weeks. Overall my back has healed well. . I still, and probably always will, have lower back pain, I have been unable to "play" with my kids, nad grandson now, as I would have liked. I was told origianally that I would probably need the hardware removed within 10-15 years anyways. Good Luck!

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I had a posterolateral fusion L4-S1 in 2003. I have alot of hardware in my back and very little muscle. I actually can feel the metal in my back and it pops and clunks like an old car.
Not only do I have severe back pain, which makes it difficult to exercise, but I also have nerve problems leading to numbness in both legs and feet.
Yes, I am one of those "1%" of the lucky ones too! Trust me, I have tried every alternative offered that they have. I take very little pain medication also. I was told a spinal cord stimulator would not solve my problem either.
I certainly do not look forward to another surgery (I have had 3). But the thought of living like this for the rest of my life is bleak. I can do very little in the way of physical activity and that is not acceptable to me.
Hope it helps to know you are not alone..

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Just a little over a year ago,(2 19 09) I had two 20 inch rods placed in my back, one on each side of my spine, also I had 62 screws placed in my back, also bone graft from my left hip placed into six cylinders that are placed between my vertebrate's, and I also had a fusion of L3 L4 L5 to S1. I had a 50 degree curve of scoliosis. I was experiencing alot of pain in my lower back, with debilitating leg pain. I am in constant pain because I can feel all of the hardware. The doctor that performed my surgery told me that I am the only person that has ever told him about the pain that I am having that is coming from the hardware. He also told me that in one and a half years I can get the hardware removed. He did not explain this to me in the beginning of all of our conversations concerning the procedure for the repair of the scoliosis. I would like for someone to explain to me how you will feel after the hardware is removed. It sounds scary to me. Of course the surgery was scary. I just didn't realize I would feel this way after going through the ordeal. I knew that I had to do the surgery to repair my back, but I am more miserable now than I was before the surgery. Please let me know how you feel after having the hardware removed.

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Thank you so much for all of your input...It is an amazing feeling to know that others are experiencing this as well...NOT that I wish our pain on anyone....Anyone else who has had the hardware removed...I'm listening.....

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Yes in my neck. Last april I had surgery onC 4/5 andC 5/6. After the surgery when I woke up I could not eat anything only drink. I know this is normal sometimes but, I have had neck surgery before and knew this was not the same.before I went back for my check-up Icalled and told the Nurse after about 2 weeks I was still not eating or drinking anything thicker than juice. She says its normal with this surgery. So after my 6 weeks i go to doctor and tell them I'm still not able to eat. This went on about 3 months my doctor sending me to Ear nose and throat Dr ,sent me in for bariac swallow test upper GI Thyroid test, all kinds of test saying it was nothing he did. They found nothing until they sent me to get a CT scan where it showed the screws were out to far 3 to 5 ML. I told my doctor to take out my hardware. He didn't want too but,he did . after that surgery I woke up able to eat.they are somethings i still can't eat somethings like chicken . I don't think to this day I was told everything about what went wrong. If you have a CT scan it will show your hardware.

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Hi, I'm new here at SU... And Yes, I had my hardware removed after a fusion. The doctor said I had a "50-50 chance" of it helping the pain. I felt hopeful after the surgery, and went home to heal (which I didn't know would take almost 8 months) It was unreal the horrible pain I was in after the removal. I was so surprised because I thought it would just be a simple in-out procedure w/o much pain involved. Boy, was I in for a ordeal. I sat on the couch crying for 3 months it was so horrible. I tried anything to get away from the pain. They gave me a fentanyl 75 patch to use for the first several weeks and after that wore off it was nasty. Finally the pain went away and I can't tell the difference between before and now. The doctor that did my fusion told me to "never have it taken out" but that "It would fail in 5 years". As I said, it feels as bad as it did before, however that is my experience only. I got a morphine infusion pump afterward and that has helped. I hope you get some relief and your doc is right! Jaynie

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Thank you to the folks telling me of your experience...I truly am thankful for your honesty.

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I am having 10 screws and 3 rods removed from fusions to L3 thru S1 on 5/13....will let you know how it goes........ I am in the same situation where I still have back pain and leg numbness after 3 surgeries.....I can actually feel the rods and screws "grabbing" at times and can only lay on my side when sleeping because of the pain of the hardware pushing on muscles and nerves.... I have my fingers crossed on this one! Good Luck to You too! john

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HI, I HAVE BEEN IN CONSTANT PAIN FOR THE LAST 10YRS IT NEVER GOES AWAY. YES MY 3RD SURGERY WAS TO TAKE OUT THE HARDWARE FROM THE EXACT SAME FUSION AREA AS YOURS. THEY FELT THAT THE HARDWARE WAS HITTING A NERVE BECAUSE THE PAIN WAS WORSE THAN WHEN I GOT HURT AND I HAD ALOT OF BURNING WHICH MEANS NERVE PROBLEMS. I NOW HAVE A IMPLANTED STIMULATOR FOR THE LAST 4YRS BUT MY SPINAL CORD IS GETTING USED TO THAT BECAUSE I HAVE TO HAVE IT SET SO HIGH. BUT TRY ANYTHING YOU THINK WILL HELP. DO ALOT OF RESEARCH ON-LINE. MAKE YOUR OWN DECISIONS DON'T LET YOUR DR.'S TALK YOU INTO ANYTHING THAT DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT TO YOU.

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Im just at 3 weeks post surgery after having my hardware removed, and was amazed how much was in there from my 4 level fusion(s )(and the size of the hardware used). Good news is the numbness in my lower back, buttocks and legs has improved. Im still having pain in mid to lower back and spasms in my legs and still have that "toothache" pain in my spine....sleeping a full night is still a problem too....hoping as time goes by nerves and muscles will heal up and I will feel better...... I go to the Dr. tomorrow for my 1st post op.....

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I didn't have mine removed so I will not be so helpful. But I was wondering the same thing, if anyone has had their hardware removed in their neck and if it helped. I had numerous xrays, MRI's and they say the hardware distorts the image. . I had a fusion w/plate and screws at level c 5/6. I had my surgery 2002, I still have pain. I also feel something when I swallow sometimes. I was wondering if anyone had the same issue as me. I get a lot of muscle spasms in my upper shoulder and neck. I take meds and go for a deep tissue massage 1x monthly. It helps but w/out it I would have terrible pain. I always felt there was something wrong w/my surgery. The doctor assured me I would feel great. I know a lot of people that had the same surgery and are fine. (of course they had a diff. doctor) I was always told not to have another surgery or take out the hardware because of scar tissue.

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Yes in my neck. Last april I had surgery onC 4/5 andC 5/6. After the surgery when I woke up I could not eat anything only drink. I know this is normal sometimes but, I have had neck surgery before and knew this was not the same.before I went back for my check-up Icalled and told the Nurse after about 2 weeks I was still not eating or drinking anything thicker than juice. She says its normal with this surgery. So after my 6 weeks i go to doctor and tell them I'm still not able to eat. This went on about 3 months my doctor sending me to Ear nose and throat Dr ,sent me in for bariac swallow test upper GI thyroid test, all kinds of test saying it was nothing he did. They found nothing until they sent me to get a CT scan where it showed the screws were out to far 3 to 5 ML. I told my doctor to take out my hardware. He didn't want too but,he did . after that surgery I woke up able to eat.they are somethings i still can't eat somethings like chicken . I don't think to this day I was told everything about what went wrong. If you have a CT scan it will show your hardware.

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Hi, I can relate had 3 surg. c5-t1 hernations Ive been in horrible pain for 5 years now and was having all kinds of funny weird syptoms since ive had these implants . I figured it out for myself by doing research online and I found out I am allergic to the metal in the hardware in my neck if you look up either metal toxicity or metal hypersensitivity you can find all kinds of info on this if your interested i can share all my info with you iam going to have the metal replaced at columbia pres in nyc theyre going to use my own bone I hope ive been help good luck.

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lcr
its interesting to hear all these doctors give out various percentages of success or failure for different lumbar back pain surgeries . actually its 50 / 50 , its either fixed or it isn't . by far , its a very serious operation , with limited outcomes . don't be afraid to ask the doctor "his" success rate ?
alc

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LCR -

L-4-5 / S-1 DDD *Advice / Surgery .

Fusion / Hardware / Screws - *In / 2001 > *Chronic Pain Afterwords ...
Hardware / Screws - *Out / 2003 < Chronic Pain Level higher ... afterwords , to this day .
Explained to me is Mostly due to scar tissue , nerves / ligaments severed - etc .

really think about having more surgery ?

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I just had my 3rd back surgery May 12th 2014, the reason for needing 3 is after my 1st surgery the rod broke, at the time I was doing nothing just standing. Well 1 year later they removed broken hardware and replaced it with new. Once again I was doing nothing when the rods broke for the second time, just standing talking to a friend. I'm telling you the second time the rods broke my knees buckled, and for a split second I felt paralyzed. Then I preceeded to have my 3rd back surgery here in Idaho, the first 2 were done in Oregon. The difference between the doctors is my 3rd doctor put me in a brace, and so far so good. But after reading some of the comments I feel a little scared, I really didn't think they'd break after 3 years..
My spine was at a 70° curve before I had my surgery, I have never heard of people getting the rods removed and being able to leave them out, are you sure your doctor didn't mean he'll remove them then put in new ones? I not doubting you and boy would that be great, being able to feel human again.

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In Dec of 2013 I was scheduled for a 360 fusion, that's when my nightmare began. I was scheduled for an ALIF from the L4-S1 and PLIF from L3-S1. Unfortunately the surgery wad split up because my hardware was late arriving. So on a Friday i had my ALIF and on Monday I had a PLIF and a laminectomy that I wasn't told I was having in my initial discussion. I was never pain free but was better day 1 after each of those than any time after. If that was the end of my story and my pain was only good for one day it would be bad. However I had an infection set in and a mere 20 days after surgery 1 I was back on the table with my back open for a clean out. This time it hurt to even get up and walk after surgery, but more just because my body had been through so much. Now I'm on the road to recovery, I could only hope. About 3 weeks after clean out I started having incredibly intense pain. Well my CT showed that I had a loose pedicle screw. My surgeon said he needed to remove and replace all my hardware EXCEPT where it was loose, he couldn't replace it and that he would lay down extra bone graft. So in Feb 2014 I had the hardware "removed and replaced". Unfortunately 3 weeks later I started rejecting the bone graft, so I had to have that cleaned out and have bone putty put in at the L5/S1 as that's where the hardware was loose previously. Since my 5 surgeries I have gotten worse, even moreso the last 2 weeks. About a month ago I had more testing done. My surgeon has been out of town and haven't been able to have the report read to me, however I was able to get a copy and found out my back is far worse than before the 1st surgery. Even worse than that when he removed my hardware, he didn't put any back in. The testing doesn't even show any type of fusion, with or without putty from the posterior and only partial from the front. now I am probably hosed for life. Does anyone have suggestions? Oh and opiods have been proven not to work for me through a test called a DME test. I don't think I have ever been as mad as I am right now.
Sorry for the long postbbut its a long story.

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