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REMOVAL OF HARDWARE AFTER SPINE FUSION

From: BriannasMommy - on 03/25/2010 7:37am

I AM LOOKING FOR ANY INFORMATION ABOUT SURGERY TO REMOVE SURGERY YEARS AFTER A SPINALFUSION.. CAN ANYONE ASSIST ME WITH WHERE TO LOOK FOR ANSWERS? SO FAR I HAVE NOT FOUND ANYTHING HERE. THE DR STATES IT SHOULD BE REMOVED BECAUSE ITHAS SERVED IT'S PURPOSE. IS THIS A VERY PAINFUL SURGERY,HOW LONG IS THE SURGERY AND RECOVERY?

I DON'T SEE HIM AGAIN UNTIL NEXT MONTH BUT HE HIMSELF HAS NOT GIVEN ME ANY INFO.

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on 03/25/2010 11:54am

Hi Brian,
I am a nurse by proffession who specialised in Orthopaedic nursing. I too have had a spinal fusion of L3 - S1. I too have had rods removed, but only because the bone graft did not take at one level. The only reason any metal should be removed from a patient, is if it is causing pain or discomfort , infection or some other problem. ( I do mean metal that is completely inside the body and not partially on the outside of the skin). After two years of having metal in the body, the bone grows over the metal and makes it virtually impossible to remove. Any problems with it ,will occur prior to the two years. You did not say how long you had it in?

If it does need to come out then the operation is much the same as having it inserted in the first place. However the recovery is much quicker and so is the actual operation. The doctor is right in saying that it has no benefit once the bone is healed, but why remove something that is not causing you a problem. I have my metal in since 1992 and it is no problem.

Hope this is of some help to you.
Mary

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on 03/25/2010 1:40pm

Dear Briannasmommy,
I am in the same boat and am suffering w/instrumentation that was told to have removed by a good friend who is also a Chiro, but he does have 800 hrs of Neuropathy. He told me after looking at my exrays that they had to come out. I confronted my NS @ this and he said that my surgery was fine. He basically ignored the situation. I was already past the 2 yr. mark, but didn't know that @ the surgery. He, my friend, told me that if I didn't get them removed that I would lose the use of my arms and legs and wind up in wheelchair. I don't understand why they can't remove it. Heck that is just not fair to say that I will be this way the rest of my life. There has to be a way.

I have been to several or should I say enough Neurologist to plea my case and tell them the situation, but to no avail will they even listen to me. They just look at my friend as a Chiro and leave it at that. That is so wrong. I suffer and know this man that has been a friend and is a DR. has sensen and wouldn't tell this @ my surgery if it weren't true. I didn't even file for malpractice because they tell you that you need to wait a yr for" fusion"...yeah...that puts them in the clear. I actually called the NS that did my surgery yesterday as I was in agonizing pain from head to toe...and I told him on the recording that I didn't see how he slept at night knowing of how I suffer because he wouldn't listen to me. WHY don't they listen. WE know our bodies and the pain that we endure is REAL.

I am sorry for being so angry because I am a patient loving mommy myself that has two young boys that need me and not me being stuck in bed w/a heating pad and not being able to be touched. It is just not fair. THERE has to be a way that they can correct the mistake they made. I have put in an application to see one of the best or he is considered the best in his field in NY. , but I live in Arkanasas and would have to take a trip...I will. I just am going to keep the faith and believe that all is not lost. If they can go in and do my surgery, in which the bones probably had grown together due to not knowing I even had the seriousness of the problem. I had what was called a delayed fracture. I had an accident back in '95 and all I came out of with was a headache. I went to the Chiro and this was not my friend at the time. I was just going to this Chiro because he was new in town and my Aunt had gone to him and he was cute and I was single. Enough said. He adjusted me and did treatments of message and sent me on my way. Years later, I was working 60+ hrs. a wk. and started getting to where I couldn't find a place to lay my head in bed to sleep and having headaches. I had moved during this time so I went to another Chiro and he scared me to death. He told me that I no curve in my neck and had a tumor in my right shoulder...last that my shoulders were all messed up. Those were @ his exact words. I went from there to a NL and he told me I had a ruptured petrusion and needed surgery. I had an ACD & F spinal diskectomy (C5-C6).

I did fine right after surgery. It wasn't a difficult one. I have always been pretty tough and femine as well. Just could take a lot. I guess raised that way. Always worked, but something wasn't right. I went back to my NS that did the surgery 9 out of 11 months of the same yr. and told him that my right arm burned and he commented and said that it was my C5. Now. wait a minute wasn't that where I had surgery I thought. I didn't put it together then. I wish I would have just asked that question "BUT wasn't that where I had titanium plates and screws and how can that make my arm hurt?"...but didn't.. OHHHHH hindsight....

What are u doing @ ur situation? Have u got an opinion on what to do? I am so wanting to know if there is some ray of hope for the ones that were done wrong. We shouldn't have to suffer the way we do and I will pray for u and hope u post back to me and let me know how ur? Take care and always....GOD BLESS... Karen

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on 04/07/2010 4:13pm

I had posterior spinal fusion just 5 weeks ago. I would be very interested inhearing from others that had a similar situation as your first person. Will I have that to look forward to?

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on 04/09/2010 4:31am

None of my surgeries were the wonderful new micro surgeries that make recoveries so much easier. I have old fashioned long incisions going every which way.
1. I have a fusion (L4-S1) that was put in 1974 is still there.
2. I have a fusion (C4-C7) that was performed in 1991 and is still in place.
3 I had a anterior posterior fusion (T10-L4) with instrumentation 1994.
4 And this latter instrumentation was removed from T10 to L-4 after 11 years because infection (MRSA) had gotten into spine and pus covered hardware at those levels. Very hard to diagnose because hardware blocked getting clear view of spine in even the most sophisticated (and expensive!) scans. Blood tests showed I was very sick, but no one knew where the infection originated, Strangely, I had no pain when my surgeon pushed on spine over infected hardware, .but after about 9 months my back began to swell and the surgeries began. Many of my muscles had turned to cardboard because of the infection. The surgery to remove hardware was not bad...certainly not what it was like to put in thru an anterior posterior approach 11 years earlier. I had a difficult time with that original 15 hour installation surgery. After they discovered the type and extent of the infection they performed one final surgery to really scrape the bones down to the point where they were all bleeding freely and with the intention of cleaning out all visible signs of infection. Now that final surgery was VERY PAINFUL. But who knows, it could have been that my defense mechanisms were worn down,,had 5 surgeries in 4 months. So it may have been emotional. Plus I had been so sick before hand. So who knows whether my pain was exaggerated because of my mental state. Easily could have been. Sometimes I was a wimp and sometimes I was strong.

As I said the simple surgery of taking out instrumentation that had been put in thru anterior/posterior procedure 11 years before was nothing compared to when it was put in. Of course it is sore etc. But not so bad.

I certainly would NOT take out the instruments just for the sake of taking it out, if the installing doctor disagreed. That doctor had his reasons and his experience to make the decision he did in each case . Removing my hardware was a matter of life and death. The infection would have killed me because it is the kind that is resistant to antibiotics.
I don't know how someone who has never been inside my back could make a decision that it was time to remove the hardware (other than for infection) if the original dr. said no. The original doctor knows what he did at the original surgery and knows what would be entailed to remove it. He/she is the only one that can really give you an honest Pro/Con list. Every docs technique is a little different and one may put alot of bone over or beside or some different way that make taking out instruments easy, difficult, or complicated, necessary, unnecessary, dangerous etc. No 2 surgeries/ surgeons are the same. Try to get your original doctor's opinion. If he has retired or you have moved to far, go to a teaching hospital
where they are using and practicing the newest procedures. Or look for the best spine doctors recommendations by other doctors (not Chiro.)

Why have an extra surgery if you don't have to have it.? More surgery leads to more opportunity for infection and problems. Every time the doc goes in the surgery generates more scar tissue to dissect etc. Nerves can get stuck to that scarring, hidden. unintentional and unavoidable cuts can be made on those nerves with long lasting consequences.

If you don't NEED the surgery for a better quality life (be able to walk, , pee etc) don't do it. Let it be. The pain will come and go. Our backs are never the same after surgery and each surgery leaves more scar tissue to deal with in the future.
Every surgery has its risk. Make sure it is necessary.

So if THE SURGEON WHO INSTALLED HARDWARE SAID IT HAD TO COME OUT., I would DEFINITELY do it.

I WOULD NEVER EVER TAKE THE RECOMMENDATION OF A CHIROPRACTOR ON THE SUBJECT OF Removal of HARDWARE in spine or neck/
The chiropractor is overstepping his world of expertise. He is not an MD and is far far far removed from a Neurosurgeon./Orthopedic surgeon.
I would consider those type of recommendations of the Chiropractor very questionable. He/she has no expertise to recommend to a patient removal of hardware a Neurosurgeon/Orthopedic surgeon installed since he has zero experience in surgery and is not educated nor authorized to claim he does because he took Neuropathy classes.
Big difference than being in the operating room with the newest hardware, harvesting bone plugs, inserting bone plugs, making special hooks, (sometimes having to make specialized titanium pieces during the surgery because your spine is not amicable to ready made parts.) dissecting nerves, controlling blood, blood pressure during surgery and all the things surgery encompasses and that then enable the physician to make informed decisions about whether you are a candidate for removing or inserting hardware.

I went to Chiroprators for years and years for good help with my spine before they could do no more. I had a good Chiro who know his limits and said it was time for me to see the surgeon. But after installation of titanium plates etc, he said it was not a good idea for him to work on my back anymore. Too dangerous. So maybe that is why the Chiropractor wants one of the people in this forum to have the plate taken out. Then he can resume his treatments. But as with every doctor and chiropractor there are good and not so good. Find the good ones recommended by Medical School/Teaching Hospitals and Professors. Some orthopedic guys have their favorite Chiro...but I don't think anyone wants a Chiropractor to be recommending revisions of spine surgery. That is out of their knowledge base.

This is what I have learned from having 12 spine surgeries over 36 years in 3 different major top teaching hospitals in different parts of the country..We moved! Still talk to the 88 year old one that did my original surgery in NYC in 1974.
Have used every kind of technique to avoid surgeries. Some worked for me, some didn't. Have had every complication possible, but was lucky always to be in fine hospitals with excellent nurses and smart smart doctors. I look for smart, smart spine specialists who have published papers on my problem, who are respected by peers and who have reputation of good hands. You can only find this out from other surgeons who have scrubbed in with him/her or seen him/her operate. I don't care if they don't see me much afterwards..if residents or PAs report to him. I want his/her expertise in the OR..the best I can get who can make decisions at the last minute when things are different than they appeared in MRI or CT. Recovery is always a bit painful and no matter how many times he stops by my bed, it ain't going to make the pain go away or heal faster. So my expectations are realistic...I will moan and groan and hate getting out of bed the first day, squeal when the nurses turn me. And slowly over weeks I will finally get better. I don't need the doctor to tell me that things will be better and i am doing fine...I know it is sometimes really slow and sometimes it isn't.
But I can always rest assured that I had a smart smart surgeon with good hands in the OR who gave me the best surgery I could have. It is up to my body to do the rest.
During recovery I sometimes go 2 steps forward and 3 steps backward, think it was a big flop, something is horribley wrong. And then the nerves that were irritated for so long and then again in surgery start to settle down. It is never the same time line..
But eventually i am better. I really think it takes about a year for the surgical pain to go away (I am not a micro-surgery candidate..I have 9 different 6-15 in scars. Bone has been taken from left, right back and front hip bones for fusions. Those harvest spots from 1974 still hurt if someone hits the spot. That is just what life is when you have a bad bad back which necessitates surgery. If you have an excellent doctor, he is going to be too busy to get back to you if you tend to want to know the source of every new pain. Who knows the cause! If you need a lot of hand holding during the normal long individual healing period, you may get overly depressed during this period and maybe should not have surgery in the first place. Great surgeons are busy operating and teaching and publishing. They know they have given you the best surgery they can. Sometimes we think something is wrong and they know it is a variation of normal recovery. It is hard to believe it when you are in the middle of the so called problem. But I have learned that they are right. There is really no such thing as normal recovery. It is so individualized. After sitting in waiting rooms for 30+ years listening to my fellow patients complaints and my whinny complaints about my back I feel so sorry for the doctors. It is like they are working in the complaint department of a store. And most of the time all they can say is you are doing fine.. just give yourself more time..don't push too much. And BINGO.. they are 99% right.

DON"T GET ANY SPINE SURGERY UNLESS YOU HAVE 3 SPINE SPECIALIST SURGEONS SAY YOU MUST HAVE SURGERY. By getting 3 opinions you learn alot about your problem and by getting more educated you can help yourself more.

You need to be contacting Spine specialists in orthopedic, neurosurgery, anesthesiology, pain management, or physical therapists because they have devoted their education and lifes to special fellowships in spines. You want specialists because they really care about making spines better and have spent extra years learning how to perform procedures so people can live better.
No short cuts or good monetary deals should come into consideration when you are picking the person who is going to help you with your spine challenges.
Only the best will do .There is not just 1 best...but a number of top spine specialists..Research, Research, Research!

Good luck
.

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on 04/27/2010 8:58pm

Hello again,
I had to comment bc someone has taken me wrong. I want to say that no one knows what kind of pain someone goes through. I suffer and I suffer. I can tolerate pain, but having so many symptoms and so much pain for so long is telling me something is terribly wrong. I have a lot of headaches,burning all over, pustules in all areas of my body, feeling of being stabbed and even an axe that feels it has been left in the middle of my back. My PAIN is severe and I truly believe I have an infection and have been saying that I had some kind of infection for a long time. I haven't mentioned it to the docs(NS,NL and Orho)...yes, I have been to all of them more than one time...and Pain Management too....I have been to them all and back to my original NS that did my surgery and he said that everything was fine...YEAH>>>RIGHT!! I don't believe it. I know my body and I am sure you know yours...so, I think if a friend of mine who is a CHIRO...can see if I have a screw that has been placed in an opening and if I need it out if it is being pressed right on a nerve. I am sure he is not lying to me bc he is also a good friend of my family. I just know I have been suffering wayyy tooo long and it is not some trivial pain. It is horrific. I don't have one day that there is no pain. I am honestly scared to death. I know I have to do something or I won't be here long...that kind of pain.
I am going to see a new NS the 11th and he is supposed to one of the best in the state. Let's see what he has to say @ this. I would bet that he finds infection. I just feel ill. I don't have any strength(severe muscle weakness,atrophy is so bad in my legs you can see where the muscle has just disappeared...I have rings around(sunken in spots..that appear to be making a circle), I hurt at the base of the back of my head...the HEADACHES...,I can't raise my arms off of my waist. Something is definatly going on and I have to get well. I just need hope and maybe "Lord willing"..I will have a life again, after they fix my surgery. I just believe they will have to take it out and redo it. It has been over 2 yrs. but there is something wrong in there. It hurts on my surgery sight and it is sunken in too and it has a knot(looks like infected...bc it will emit some kind of pus out of it). Have a bad headache so I have to get back into the bed...yeah...where I live...Maybe not 4 long.
You all take care and always..GOD BLESS.... Karen

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on 04/28/2010 3:19am

skeetelmore65:
I sound like Bill Clinton, but I feel your pain! All of us have probably been there, Although you are right, no one experiences pain or nerve pressure, or surgery, or infection quite the same. No matter how strong we think we are this back business brings us down...both physically and emotionally. I don't know how anyone keeps from eventually collapsing into a wimpering pit.
And the frustration that builds up when we think no one understands just multiplies everything. And the worst guilt is put on us because we are women. We are not supposed to get sick..the kids and family depend on us to shop, change their diapers, drive carpool, clean up cook...all the while we can hardly stand/sit or sleep!
So I do get it and get how desperate we are for solutions..which unfortunately are not always easily available.

Here is a game plan and things to get together before seeing new neurosurgeon on the 11th:

CHECK FOR INFECTION
1.Go to internist or infectious disease doctor. The latter saved my life! Simple blood tests will tell if you have an infection, Ask that the blood test include
A. The normal CBC test
B. CRP= C- Reactive protein'..not the one for the heart, This is a sensitive test to see if you have an infection in your system
C. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) To check for highl inflammation

Confer with the doctor on the results. If the results are abnormal, then it would be time to do more tests and studies and see where the infection may be.
( I had these tests for 2 years with very high CRP and ESR results but they could not find infection because it was hiding in my spine behind my hardware...No surface nodules. No pain in back of instruments, but I was sick sick sick sick with reccuring fevers, head aches, indescribable crippling bad pain in legs. But my back didn't hurt and the infection was in 5-6 inches of spine!!) Even PET Scan blocked the lighting up of the infection because of the metal.
But in your case you have so many local indications of something going on that doesn't sound right ( have no idea what the significance of nodules and sinking in areas. If your blood tests show you have an infection then maybe these other side effects and horrible pain are the missing pieces to the puzzle. So for sure get yourself to an internist and if all those test show infection, If they show normal, thank your lucky stars and say "Thanks be to God" And maybe these abnormalities on the skin is just what happens to your body after a surgery and it may be normal for you. Only the tests will show.

RELOOK AT YOUR STUDIES: XRAY< MRI, CT-SCAN, MYELOGRAM< DISCOGRAM..whatever
ASSEMBLE THEM ALL AND TAKE TO NEW DOCTOR ALONG WITH REPORTS ON EACH PROCDEDURE OR SURGERY
2. You seem to really get great comfort from you Chioropracter who sees something on a study that others don't seem to see as significant, yet he thinks it is the cause of all your problems. There is no way for us here to know if is is a meaningful study or if it is just a very elementary X-Ray. So why don't you have your dear Chiro friend mark the area of the study where he sees this screw going where he doesn't think it should be or however he describes it. Have him circle it and make it very clear and explain what he sees there and what it is doing bad to your back.. If he (she) can't come with you have the person write his findings.
Then you want the new Neurosurgeon or Neuroradiologist to explain to you in terms you understand why that is or is not the cause of your problem. (Be sure to have the report from the radiologist that backs up your friend)

Then there is a starting point. . Depending on if the exam is a simple X-ray, or MRI or CT scan he will say different things. . It is very important that you bring the written reports by the Neuroradiologist of the MRI or Ct scan or whatever scans you are bringing in. so he can read what the real expert at the time saw. But many times I find that the surgeon who has operated on your spine knows how to read these computerized tests even better. You should bring all that you have...before and after with all the reportsl They will all fit on a CD.

If the image the Chiropractor is looking at is on the CD also, have it stop playing at the image where he sees something that is causing your problem and print that out and mark that.
Ask Neurosurgeon what that screw is doing. Do all patients have the screw like that?
Would I benefit if it came out? Maybe the NS will just say that is not what it seems...that it is only 2 dimensional XRay and there is really much more room behind screw that is better seen on another test. I have NO IDEA what he could say. But just because he does not agree with the Chiro, does not mean the NS is wrong and the Chiro is right. The NS has a much deeper knowledge and much more education and surgical experience with the human spine and all the differences between each individual. We are all wired just a bit differently also. Your C5 nerve may take a different squiggle and line than mine etc.

NEED FOR RESOLUTION OR A NEXT STEP:
Perhaps after spending the whole time presenting all your studies, OR report, study reports and the physical exam, the NS may be the first NS or Orthopedic guy to agree with the Chiro and he will take the suggestion of the Chiro. On the other hand, he may be in the same opinion as all the others.. In that case, ask if it isn't the screw, what is it that I can do to bring relief. My life is unacceptable now. I am unable to care for my family or myself. etc despite hours of physical therapy, water therapy etc.
I need to do something.

He may say time...time, my dear. That is a favorite. But it is true, On the other hand as a mother of small children with no help ( except a sweet husband that was never home) I undermined my own recovery alot trying to be the prefect mother wife and getting everything done. All I was really doing was causing bleeding before things had healed and then the bleeding would turn into scar tissue that would trap the nerves. They told me not to lift my arms higher than my ears when I was discharged after a 3 level cervical fusion. HUH? No one had mentioned that before and i had 4 kids to feed and get food and dishes out of cupboards..OH never mind. It was a nightmare. A long recovery. I always thought something was wrong. There was. It was me. I was doing to much an preventing scarless healing. But I had good hair because I refused not to comb my hair for 6 weeks or have a 3 year old do it! But my pain (SURPRISE!) is still there on too many occasion. Bad patient.

I think before you can go ahead in your healing or treatment you have to understand why the Chiro is saying there is a screw amiss and the ORTHO and NS guys are not worried about it or don't see it. You need an explanation that makes sense. If the CHIRO can read studies as well as medical doctors with 4 years of medical school and who has had years and years residencey and fellowships in Neuroradiology, perhaps your friend should go to medical school and do neuroradiology residency and fellowships. He seems to have a knack for reading MRI's etc. He/she sounds very compassionate and wants to help and seems as if he/she is just as right as the MD Neuroradiologist, NS and Ortho guys.

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on 06/08/2010 7:36pm

In reply to your question: My husband just had his titanium screws (4) removed. The reason for this was 1 had broke and was pushing on a nerve. Causing him added intense constant pain. He not only had the pain from a failed original double fusion but this broken screw was killing him. He could not stand/walk/sit/lay down. His surgery was less than 1 hr. He choose not to stay overnight at the hospital. He wanted the comforts of home to recover. He had 16-18 staples to close the incision and his recovery went well. There was a little swelling but nothing ice couldn't help. Hope that helps your decision to have hardware removed.

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on 06/10/2010 11:59am

Thank you everyone who responded. I had the surgery 4/16/2010. Once inside he found ALL OF THE SCREWS broken, hardware everywhere. He removed severalinches of scar tissue and repaired two more herniations. I do feel a little better but the left leg pain and hip pains are STILL unbearable.

I am now in physical therapy and hopefully soon I will feel more relief. Overall, I am just thankful he said I cannot CURE YOU, I can only HELP YOU! I am thankful for him.

Carolyn

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on 06/10/2010 2:08pm

I am truly disturbed by some of the responses here about not getting the hardware removed. People are not checking out the manufacturers recommendations, specifically what they refer to as "contraindications". For the manufacturer I have the plate mechanism documentation stated that it was for temporary use. In other words, if you're not going to remove the plate once the fusion is set don't use the plate. Fusion can set in as little as eight weeks but more likely a bit longer, typically twelve weeks, if it does fuse. Statistics indicate that the success rate for two level discectomy with fusion and plate is 100%, some say 95-100%, others say virtually certin. No true. The only thing that is true is the subsequent pain, disability and depression, in that order.
Look at the mri/cat scan/xray for a bright line at the fusion location which indicates a lack of fusion. Also check the fusion area for cloudiness which indiocates a good fusion. There is much more to this but I just wanted to correct some people who think it's OK to lave theh hardware in place. It is not according to the manufacturers. To me it appeared that the doctors listened to a few seminars and took peoples word for this. They need to read and keep up with the literature. Also note that the doctors will almost uniformly try to convince you to wait until it is more difficult to remove the device. The pain gets worse not better.
Just research everything to the n'th degree and think about any decision ong and hard. If you haven't had surgery yet - I wouldn't. One variable here is the experience of the surgeon. Ask your PCP who they would go to for this situation, not who he/she thinks you should go to. Most people seem to get worse and deteriorate much more rapidly with the surgery. Spine surgery is in it's infancy compared to the rest of medicine.

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on 06/10/2010 3:03pm

I had a spinal fusion L5-S1, with hardware, in October 2000. In April 2001, I was in terrible pain, they took the hardware out. Another surgery in 2002 because of severe siatic nerve pain....found nothing. I live with pain every day.

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on 06/10/2010 3:37pm

Hi Julie,
I am deeply sorry for your pain as I am new to the world of pain. Keep searching for possible solutions. Sooner or later there will be a more humane approach to spine issues. I hope God facilitates this process.
Russ

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on 06/10/2010 7:48pm

Russ1,
The most important thing to know about spine patients, is that no 2 are the same!
And as a result the method of dealing with the individual problems and bones and discs is different. People can have what you might think is the same instrumentation as yours, but could have been installed differently because of pedicle size, vertebrae configuration, age of patient, reason for surgery, ...well the list goes on. That is indeed why one needs to only go to the very best spine specialists that they can get to... Not an Ortho or NS who does knees, elbows and spines. You want a spine specialist that you trust.
I had my first spine fusion in 1974, so I have seen a lot of changes. There are a lot of people walking around with rod etc in their backs for 35+ years. It sounds like what you had placed in your back was a temporary instrumentation. I had some in for 11 years. And I still have some in since 1989.
I have a genetically bad back, which many of us do as opposed to the ones who have herniated discs as the result of an injury.
You are definitely right to be a smart, aware consumer. I have always gotten 3 opinions before any surgery and all from Dr. at teaching hospitals...The ones who do the research and are on the cutting edge ( so to speak) of spine treatments. I have had 11 spine surgeries and as my spine surgeon says" I have trained a lot of residents". I have learned way too much from the very best in the world, and all I can say is no too backs are the same and we have to leave decisions of when to operate and not operate to the specialist we trust. Over the years these specialists have approached a spine problem according to what the best science was at the time and what they found when they got inside( not everything shows up on MRI/Cat scan and thus have to modify or make special instrumentation right there on the spot for the patietn's special needs)
Some need instrumentation longer, and for some it is more of a risk to take it out. It is a decision to be made by the competent, knowledgeable and trusted spine specialist, not any of us for sure!!
So do not be alarmed that some people have some stabilizing device still in them! They, like me, may need it! Not everyone has the same stabilizing device. And although, there are great strides being made in Spine surgery, there have been rods, screws etc put in peoples spines for decades ( and are still in there) with great success. Each year things are a bit differently and new instruments, plates, rods, artificial disc etc become available. But that does not mean that we rip out some metal that is still doing it's job after 20 years and replace it with something else.

I wish you great success and hope you have seen the last of the OR!
By the way what is a PCP?

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on 06/10/2010 11:46pm

If it's working for you may God bless you and may he continue to work his miracles for you.

A PCP here in Boston is a Primary Care Physician. That's the person that some NS's send you back to when they have erred and can't or won't fix you up. My surgeon insists that he has never removed the hardware yet he claims about 1,000 spine surgeries, about half of which are cervical. I saw him recently and he says now that he has removed the hardware before. My pain is not acknowledged. I need to work. The new insurance has us paying thousands in deductible and out of pocket in total. People should always be sure to have good insurance.

The brochures for the hardware indicate that they should be removed. It's easier to remove early on after fusion than later. Someone in the blog(?) said that flesh grows over the implant after a while and then it cannot be removed. I think this may be in error. It's true that adhesion lysis is needed after some time but that's all I know aside from the process, i.e. order in which things are done surgically. .

Removal time for a plate that goes from c5 to c7 (2 level since two discs taken out?) is approximately 1 hour and this is from my NS (Neurosurgeon) who is highly skilled and conservative. The original surgery took 3 hours to complete the 2 discectomies and install the plate across c5-c6-c7 (a single plate).

I'm tired and in pain now so bear with me (12:42am EST). The decision to remove hardware should first depend on the need to have it removed as determined by the patient. If the patient is OK then he/she is OK.

The surgeon should be able to remove the hardware fairly readily according to the manufacturers and my surgeon at "ABC" hospital in Boston, MA. My neck feels like it is being choked constantly so I can't focus. I went in with two discs that didn't really produce much pain if any related to the need for surgery. I had 2 discs that were into the spinal fluid and "could make me a quadraplegic at any time." I cough frequently to clear the feeling of mucus in my throat but it doesn't typically work. When it does it's becasue l have to cough until my throat runs sore. I can't meet with anyone in a work situation since I could cough and hack all over them (involuntarily of course).

The hardware brochures state under "Contra-Indications" for product use that the hardware needs to be removed. I wouldn't disagree with the manufacturer without a compelling rationale. Keep in mind my surgery was 7 weeks and nearly 3 days ago. Other types of surgery and for surgery for varying reasons other may well differ but I've seen other hardware with the same warning. Always do the research and ask the questions yourself, with a witness, so you have someone to check your recollection with.

Does anyone else sniffle in through their nose and then have difficulty swallowing? The coughing and choking is exhausting me and draining any energy I have left. My back and neck especially are sore among other places. They hadn't hurt before. I feel like I was on one of the original the Star Trek episodes where the crew was being drained of its "life force".

Russ

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on 06/11/2010 5:47pm

Russ,
You are not alone in a slow painful, and depressing recovery. It is the pits. Pain, as you obviously know comes from pressure and irritation. It is not easy to operate on the spine and not involve moving or irritation of the nerves. And sometimes it takes forever for the pain of the irritation to go away. You just have to think of the poor people who complain of unbearable pain in the foot even though the leg was amputated months before... The phantom pain syndrome!

I had my 3 level cervical fusion in 1991 C4-C7 ( I had gotten 8 opinions before that surgery.. I was terrified.. But all Dr. said I needed it to avoid paralyzes of various parts) . I remember having the nerve symptoms you are describing, especially swallowing and choking, sniffles..it was all awful , but I forget what nerves were causing it. The symptoms eventually went away. I had to be in a brace 24 hours a day from the top of my head to my waist for 9 months. I was miserable and sleeping was in bits and pieces. At that time the way to correct herniations was an anterior approach, remove the entire disc, harvest bone from iliac crest and shape into size and width of opening created by missing disc and hammer the bone into place. This was done for all three discs. According to the shadowy appearance on the studies the beginning of the fusion started at 6 weeks and continued. At 9 months I got to take off the horrible brace and then went into conventional neck braces. At 1 year, I did not duck enough while walking under a tree branch and hit my head on it, cracking the nearly completed fusion... although studies had showed it was solid. So I had to have another surgery.. Actually very easy.. Just posterior incision where the Dr. wired the crack and harvested a bit more bone from my iliac crest and put over crack. And that was that. Except periods of horrible pain and spasms. Massage is the best plus neck, shoulder, back exercises! But 50% of the time I have neck pain, but I am not going to be paralyzed, thanks be to God!

Enough about me! You are so lucky to be in the center of the greatest medicine in the world. Boston has world class doctors. You should easily be able to get 2nd and 3rd opinions. I think you have the best chance of any of us to get experience, smart NS. I don't know if many would agree with you at 7 weeks after surgery that. "The decision to remove hardware should first depend on the need to have it removed as determined by the patient. If the patient is OK then he/she is OK."
Your experience of 1 patient does not compare with the experience of the NS who says he has done 1000 cervical surgeries. 7 weeks 4 days is nothing. You are over the surgical pain, but even I would doubt that you are fully fused. That would be a miracle even for a teenager. The older we are, the longer it takes to fully fuse.

Wow! I have never hear of a procedure that quarantees success 100% of the time. Is that what the research over years says? Have these papers been published in journals of spine surgery? I think there is a misunderstanding. Nothing is quarantined, especially spine surgery. That is why we shouldn't have it unless we really need it!

You sound like you do not trust your doctor, think the surgery was unnecessary, and you want to be the one to tell the doctor when you are fused enough to take out plate because of material you have read and the way you are feeling. I am sure some of this is colored by the pain, stress, frustration, pain, misery, depression, need to get back to work, no sleep, no comfortable position, restless, pain, new symptoms that scare you and make you more miserable. And you are probably wondering why the h--l you had the surgery! Nothing is settled in your mind and body. The depression is the worse! It is the pits. I think surgeons tend to ignore or cries of pain at your stage of recovery. It is just part of the healing process for some. Only time heals.

It is time for you to get some 2nd and 3rd opinions. Let the professionals check it out!

Rest assured that taking out hardware is no big deal. It really isn't. I had mine taken out after 11 ( actually it was 12 ) years. It was a much more complicated than just taking out a 2 level plate. It took 15 hours to put in and 1 hour to take out! So please do not worry about removing the plate at the doctors recommendations.

Now get your 2nd and 3rd opinions and put ice on you neck and get someone to massage your chest and upper back muscles ( too soon for neck!)

Take someone with you to the doctor that can ask questions and listen also. Have a list of questions. Sometimes I would get so distracted or upset by Dr. answer that I would not fully listen to next part. We need a lot of ears.

God bless. Know this too will pass! But more time NEEDS to pass!

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on 08/29/2010 5:35am

Now that you have had rour back repaired (again) stay away from the chiro-quack. Any idiot with a brain and education should no better than to try to do a "manipulation" or an adjustment on fused vertebrae. Maybe he/she was part of the problem.

Please don't misunderstand me, there are some good health care professionals out there in the chiropractic field, but the good ones know when to stop and refer you to the proper specialist.

I will let you know when I figure out what I am going to do with my broken screws (L4-5/S1).

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on 08/31/2010 7:59pm

I have never heard of them taking the risk to "remove the hardware" It is risky enough to be operating on Spine. Are you in pain?

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on 09/01/2010 11:43am

Up until about 1995 two surgeries were routinely scheduled, one to 'install' the hardware and a second to remove it. The manufacturers have not changed their opinion regarding removal, only the insurance companies and doctors. One is driven by money, the other to some degree by ego. The manufacturers still indicate that it should not be installed unless it was to be removed. Ignoring this based on potentially out of date information is ill-advised at best. As it turns out surgeons learn one technique to address a particluar type of problem and rarely change it once mastered. This information comes from my NS at MGH in Boston.

The plates and screws are estimated to cause problems after about 10 years on average. If you are up in years as I am then it's best to address this earlier than later. The problems that arise are also quite serious and you may not be near to a major medical center that you can trust with this kind of work.

The bottom line is if it hurts and/or interferes with normal daily activities and/or chokes you etc. then getting it removed is not difficult. Just make sure they perform lysis of adhesions, repair anything that became misaligned (e.g. larynx, "cricoid cart. etc.) and then simply unscrew the device. "Very simple" to do this per my NS. There is likely more to do but I haven't found it yet or heard anything additiional from the doctors I've consulted. The major issue is entering the spinal area. Six major anatomical constructs need to be moved, with three moved to each side.

I am not a medical professional - Beware of advice that appears to be from other than a qualified source. These comments are only starting points. Stay with the major medical centers. Also, Castle Connolly provides one of the top, if not the top, doctors ratings service. Check it for yourself. Heck, check everything and then get several second opinions.

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on 09/01/2010 12:04pm

Hi Back4More,

Thanks for the thoughtful response. One thing I discovered about doctors is the level of ego. The risk of a bad decision can ride on this factor frequently. The perpetual use of "it's psychological" is most irritating when you're choking. For example, just because the doctor hasn't removed any hardware after 500 cervical surgerieds doesn't mean that none were necessary. Arrogance is rampant in this field of endeavor. Many information sources are needed. These include reading (doctors and you) flexion/extension (F/E) xrays and CatScans. My radiology indicted fusion per my NS at about nine weeks. It's important to remembert that, like me, anyone can have poorly executed or too few FE xrays. My first set consisted of two xrays with absolutely no instructions from the xray tech regarding positioning. These two xrays were done with exceptional speed. The results indicated a complete lack of movement in the neck. These were done at MGH in Boston. The next set was done in MGH in Waltham, MA and consisted of five FE xrays with full instructions and no rush. I had an entirely satisfactory result based on these xrays. The doctor was aware of the issues in having the xrays in Boston ergo the quick follow-up.

The point is this, check everything yourself and do not rely on any single individual or hospital. It is a production line. Take the time to learn the medicine behind it to the extent practical. I've caught a number of issues that allowed me to have an improved result.

My anesthesiologist put my weight in at 102kg (224.6 lbs. - I was 176 lbs.- she thought that 102kg translated to 240lbs - that alone should worry a person; I was told a special intubation device was needed, they used an old technology; no adjustment for age, type of surgery and apnea was made to the drug dosage). This information must be accurate due to the number of drugs used (12 intravenous and three through the mask). A nurse interviewing for anesthesia just does not cut it - an overly informal experience for me.

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on 11/15/2010 1:23pm

I have read all the posts and I am utterly disgusted. I can't believe that I have been back to my NS over and over and over and he NEVER stated that they EVER came out. NO WONDER I AM IN MISERY. IT has been over 4 yrs. since I had my ACD & F spinal diskectomy of my C5-C6 .
I posted at the very beginning. I am literally madder than H***.. I just can't believe that if it is that easy to remove the plates, then why hasn't he done this for me. I have been to him, barely able to sit up on the table with tears flowing. I am/have been in misery for so long and I just can't understand why he won't help me. WHY? He does have the arrogance,that is for sure, but I hate to say it because I have already got upset and I don't like to get upset. I say and do things that are out of my context. I am a Christian, that is why I didn't file malpractice in the first place.
I just am so hurt. As many times as I have been there(rode almost a 4 hr. round trip...in agony..you know how a trip does us..sends us into turmoil ) and they didn't even tell me I could possibly achieve relief by the NS doing this necessary thing that he was suppost to do in the first place..HMMM? They definately aren't achieving any long term effects..They shouldn't be sooo proud. All that is coming out of this is money in someone's pocket..not relief from any pain or correction seems to be of utmost importance here.
The last time I went in to see him, I saw a piece of paper on the counter. I was hesitant because I thought I should just wait until the NS came in to see me. Well, curiosity got the best of me and I can't believe what I read. It said and I quote, "Mrs. Elmore states at her last visit that her plates had moved, they had." Now, what do you get out of that. I know what I read and it said that my plates had moved and that was enough to cause a deep welled feeling of panic inside. I knew something was wrong and he just didn't want to admit to his wrong-doing. I truly believe that. I have suffered and am still suffering for no reason. I never one time asked him for medicine,didn't want that...I only wanted him to fix me so I wouldn't hurt like this anymore.
It could all be over if he would just go in there and see. I am willing. I just want relief so I can go on with my life. I have two teenage boys that need their mom and besides...I AM SICK OF THIS BED...I live in it with a heating pad and a TENS unit, so my muscles can get some kind of relief...This is so wrong for a doc to do to their patient.. I just don't know what else to say.
RUSS, can you tell me for sure that the plates that I have in my neck need to come out and that you are sure that they suppose to come out? I am just blowed away by this. This changes everything that I have been thinking.
I just received a call from his nurse. She said that she has never heard of them ever taking the plates out. I told her that something has to be done. I asked her if they could try a camera or something to look inside. I have got to have something done. She said, "I don't know, it's been a long time." and I said, "I know, I have been suffering all that time."
I have to make sure that these plates come out. I believe you guys and feel it makes sense after fusion you remove them. I have looked at my MRI's and xrays on my labtop and at first all I saw was a black space underneath the plates. Until I got to the xrays, did I see that my discs are still there...so the plates ARE just sitting on top of them...right? OHHH..I want these things OUT.
His nurse is suppose to call me back, she got a call, but I have to say that I was asking her the right questions...she didn't know what to say. "I am just tired", I told her.I did say that it was wrong the way I was treated last time I was there. OHH yeah, they left me in his, the NS, little room...You know the one after the lobby. I sat in a wheelchair in the room, after a Cat Scan of Cervical and I was still tired from that so I fell asleep in the wheelchair for 2 hrs, but was in the room for over 3 hrs..THAT WASN'T RIGHT. Don't you think? Wouldn't you be mad sitting in one of those rooms for over 30min.(that should be enough time for him at least pop his head in and say something to you at least..like..I will be right with you..so sorry for the enconvenience...You know what I mean..I know you do.
Also, I told her that I wanted that sheet of paper that said my plates had moved.

I am having so many symptoms that I think it is driving me crazy, but The Lord lead me back here. I don't know why. I visit so many sites...and I do comment on some. It is so difficult to remember. I take Neurontin(Gabapentin) and believe me it does a number on your memory. I forget something in 5 secs...yeah,it is soo true. I hate it, but it works better than anything so far for the burning, pain. I still feel like I have been hit by a truck and I can't be touched..it hurts,and it hurts me to brush my hair/teeth..it does get done, but it takes a while. A month ago, while taking a bath,my right arm just give out on me. I couldn't use it. Why? Could this be right? Maybe my plates had just moved, but believe me they moved to a place that is KILLING me.
My mom is so wonderful @ helping me, but she still has trouble understanding completely just how painfulf this stuff is. She remembers how active I have always been and I know she misses that. I MISSS THAT!!! She does cook good food 4 me and rubs my feet with lotion. She takes care of me and sometime I know she feels my pain. All moms know when their kids are in pain. She just doesn't want me to be this way forever...neither do I.
I just called my NS and left a message for my NS's nurse. I'll be surprised if I even hear from them. I am having a symtom now that started @ a wk or so ago. My eyes have been getting so blurry wihile I am typing. It is scary. I can't even see what I have typed. Something I am afraid has turned vascular...is that possible? Another question. After it being almost 5 yrs, in Feb.,do you still think he'll(the NS) will take the plates out(or do I even want him to touch me after leaving these in and not even telling me that they suppose to come out...I don't know. At the beginning, he wasn't even in the picture. He was just suppose to sit in on the surgery, another NS was suppose to do the surgery and I find out much later that he done 90% of my surgery. That to me isn't right. Another thing, he never even told me that he found a CM (Chiari Malformation-6.5mm) & a T3-T4 compressed fracture. All I know is the misery that I go through I wouldn't wish on anyone to experience. I push myself through the days as best I can and pray that one day it'll be over. Maybe soon now..I pray..
Please get back with me with your opinions on this one. I know there is much to be said. When I called and left the message I said this, " This is Karen and I can't believe the plates that he put in were temporary and they are still in there with the agony that I have been going through I don't see how he could not tell me this." I said it calmly,but to the point, and I still can't believe that he is just going to let me suffer and not do anything? Why, after seeing me in the apparant agony that I was in offer to take the plates out if it might help, but NOO. I am just blowed away by this new information. I just can't believe it.
Do you know that I can't even touch around where my surgery was performed. I have an ugly scar that has these two raised knots(they do produce a substance from inside of them) and it is very stiff,achey,sore,and the pain is from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. No one should have to experience this kind of pain.
I am going to call my NS right now and just ask when was he going to tell me that the plates he inserted back in Feb.'06 were just temporary..HOOOO...I am fired up. As much misery..life missed because of having to lay in bed because I can't walk. MY legs hurt soooo bad and I can't stand,my back burns if I stand up for 5 mins or more..it is awful. My head is having sharp shooting pains on my left temple area and have had it on my right. I was thinking Trigeminal Neuralgia, since my NL mentioned it himself. He also mentioned that he saw a place on my Thoracic. He said it could be an artifact. Okay, I hurt in the area or rounds about the same area to where you can't even touch my skin. So, he might have found something there. He kept the MRI of my Thoracic w/wo contrast. It showed a place that looked black, but some white seems to be around it in my T's. I shoulder blades and in between them HURT..I wonder if I am ever going to find the solution to this problem. Maybe one day..soon, I hope b4 I go crazy..God ...Dear God, I hope not.
Can I post my blog on here? I have that to look forward to, to keep me from losing it..lol..I will wait until someone wants it or I find it is okay.. It is called LIFE...AND THE THINGS IT BRINGS(continues) , but I will give you the address if it's okay when I come back....:)

I am sorry for the mix-up on this post. I came back to add something and put things in a mess. I am a mess. I am just ...well, as u can see not speechless...lol I can still laugh, but not loud..:(
I am glad at least I can still laugh @ it at least..sure would like to have more insight on this.I am so tired of being tired, Sick of being sick..seems like I am getting more of a depressed state. I do cry a lot. A LOT..in the tub, brushing my teeth, when I feel my face that used to be so smooth and people said it looked like porcelin. No, not anymore..maybe it'll clear after they find out what it is that is causing all of this grief... I thought it was Lyme since I was bitten by a tick @ 2 yrs .or so ago, but that puts it after the surgery.. Too far after the surgery to be associated with the pain I have experienced.
I hate to post this comment...to be honest. I got so mad and I don't want to read it. I bet it is all jumbled up to since I came back in and started posting. Just got upset at all I read. I can't figure this out. When his nurse called me, she told me that they never take them out. Okay, maybe this is the first. Isn't that what they say.."There's always a first time for everything." If you know, and I am talking to you..Back4more and Russ. I just need more information. Do you know where I can find it or what I should be looking for.
Thanks for all the info that has been given. I will use what you give me and I will come back to see if you have anything else for me. I desperately need it. I don't know what to do @ this agony. I have got to have some kind of relief of this stuff. It is all the time..I am living in a bed..not fun..not for me..I want to go and do...live,laugh,love..
GOD BLESS and hope I hear from you soon and forgive again the mess above. It is the truth..that is all that matters hey? Take care always.. Karen
ps. here's my email 4 now, until I can post my site.. skeet65@hotmail.com

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on 11/15/2010 1:49pm

OK - it seems that people with experience in this area, specifically non-MD, have not gone beyond doctor's advice. If anyone wants the studies please let me know. Removal of hardware was routinely done 15 - 20 years ago and more. Recent studies show that this is a more effective technique. Adhesions around the hardware "connect" to the esophagus causing pain, tearing of the esophagus (a very serious complication) et cetera. Doctor's avoid removal for cost reasons (see insurance company in the dictionary).
Over half of the most relevant study group (about 55% if I remember correctly) no longer had symptoms, another third (about 32%) had minor occasional problems. Not a bad result for any medical procedure. Please note the wide variety of dysphagia complications from anterior discectomy(sp) with fusion and hardware. It ranges from a few percent to 60%. Someone has very different standards but we all know the suffering we experience and what it means for these percentages. Some have so much hardware and damage that this may not be appropriate, but for those with less complicated circumstances this does appear to be a real opportunity.
May God bless.

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on 11/16/2010 5:43pm

I am new to this site. Two years ago I had a revision scoliosis surgery, which included fusing from T9-S1. Since this surgery, I cannot sit at all because of pain. The original surgeon has closed his practice. The surgeon I am seeing now believes a screw may be pressing on S2 and suggested removing at least some of the hardware. I have talked to the original surgeon's partner. He said I could not remove just one screw, because all the screws are in the sacrum, none in the ilium. He called the screws Alar screws. Has anyone heard of these screws? Has anyone ever had them removed? He said it was sometimes very painful to have them removed. Thanks for any info.

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on 12/09/2010 6:06am

Is a surgical technique that involves moving skin containing hair follicles from one part of the body (the donor site) to bald or balding parts (the recipient site). It is primarily used to treat male pattern baldness, whereby grafts containing hair follicles that are genetically resistant to balding are transplanted Hair transplant to bald scalp.

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on 02/06/2011 7:41pm

Dear Russ and Back4more and all,
I am still here in this bed, but working towards that light at the end and I think I might have found it. When I found this post @ the "removal of hardware", my hopes were instantly raised. I do feel my plates or something is wrong in there, but no one doc seems worried @ the idea..I am sure it has happened b4 and what then..did they learn anything from it. There are a ton of people in this world and I hate to say it, but I always seems to wind up being the minority in it whatever the situation. When it came time for me to get a Myleogram( I was scared to death bc I knew what had to be done, I know my body and the pain it experiences and didn't need something else to go through, but had to get some kind of answer to this tormenting anquish).
I did send some of this discussion to my NS. I wish I could be there when he receives it to see just what is been said by my NS..I just pasted it in my appt. form..lol..I When he sees it, I think he will do a 180* bc I had mentioned it to him b4..noo, that was even on his agenda period.
I just don't understand why he won't do anything.Why would it be so hard to give a person relief from shere agony..I know that there might be risks, but what do I have know, but pain and agony..I would rather do something than nothing.
He won't even recommend me to anyone else that could help me. WHY? What is wrong with some of these doctors..DO THEY HAVE TO FEEL THIS PAIN TO REALLY UNDERSTAND..OR DO THEY EVEN CARE? This pain is so unbearable at times and it has completely taken my life away. What is it that I can do now after the statute of limitations has run out. THere has got to be something that I can do if he won't do the surgery, I will feel like this forever. OHH Dear GOD, surely not. I have to think @ what is coming for me in the future. I mean, I am having trouble walking and bathing myself now,thinking I am going to have to get me a wheelchair to be able to go to any funorctions or whatnot..I sure want this fixed now instead of later. If this is what it is. I really feel it is though.
Why can't they make sure like doing more test..HECK open me up if u have to,so u can see inside and know if something or what is wrong. I have to say that I really feel like a guinea pig. ONE man was suppose to do the surgery, but he wound up only doing 10%..and the (I think) intern, that is just learning does the whole job...noooo, that is not how it is going to work on me... I can tell u that..I will raise more cane than a little bit..that is bad when someone does u that way. IT IS JUST DOWNRIGHT WRONG. AND NOW DOESN'T WANT TO TAKE CREDIT FOR SUCH AN EXCELLENT JOB THAT HE HAS DONE....NOT!!!. and is even not going to tell u that u also have a CM- Chiari Malformation) and a T3-T4 compressed fracture--isn't that BAD? I am thinking maybe the wonderful Spinal diskectomy that he done had put pressure on the lower column..hmmm?
The last time I went,I was done wrong... how they done me wrong was when they just didn't seem to care or even worry that I was in a room, by myself, asleep in a wheelchair for so long. Just left me there in that little room. My mom and my son alternated coming in to check on me and each time I was asleep in the wheelchair. I HAVE A C5-C6 SPINAL DISC. AND IT IS NOT RIGHT TO JUST LEAVE ME THERE WITH MY HEAD HANGING DOWN TO MY CHEST..IT IS JUST WRONG.
I usually suffer so much when my head falls that way too long and this was for 2 or more hours. HMMMM! Just let it hit them up the u know what and see how they BEG for someone to just help them, but it don't happen that way does it?
I am going back to where my old NS is(don't care to ever see him again bc I haven't got anywhere..still in PAIN and AGONY.
Now they have a new NS and I AM GOING TO SEE. ."Lord Willing"..I have got to get some help from somewhere. This guy, they talk @ being for the patient...WE'LL see.. I hope. MY NS supposedly has released me to see any doc,he was suppose to.
I am going to make an appt. with this new NS and just see what he has to say. I know if he has a heart and eyes he will see what I am going through and am going through everyday and see my PAIN. There has got to be some kind of process he can find that will relieve my pain and agony..HOPEFULLY TAKE THESE THINGS OUT(plates and screws)....OUT...That, I believe would solve a lot of my pain issues.

I know it said on my MRI report that I had some kind of interior wedges and a T3-T4 compressed fracture. Other things it said was @ my occipital..I am looking it up because I want to get it right.
Okay, it says: Basal Ganglia,Brain Stem, and Cerebellum appear normal on the pre-contrast images. However,there is a small Venous Angioma in the inferior left cerebella hemisphere which is best appreciated on the post gadolinium images.The draining vein extends to the periphery. It is best appreciated on Image 3 of Series 8. No other enhancing abnormalities are identified. There is "Empty Sella". The Cerebellar tonsils are low lying,however I do not feel there is a normal Chiari Malformation present. No area of restricted diffusion are identified.
The orbits,paranasal sinuses and mastoid air cell appear normal with the exception of a very small mastoid effusion. (I DON'T KNOW WHAT ALL OF THIS MEANS, BUT i DON'T LIKE THE WAY IT SOUNDS IN SOME PARTS..LIKE THIS ..small mastoid effusion and @ the draining vein extends to the periphery. Oh, I forgot to add it said this too..There is a mild cerebellar tonsil ectopia of uncertain clinical significance..(Really?)

I don't understand how a person can be dx with Cervical spinal stenosis at one place and then it can't be found..I just want answers NOT GUESSES...and in these findings it stated that there were no clear evidence of herniation or stenosis. No edema within the cord. Post operative changes at C5-C6...(I knew that one,bc I feel it) .
TO tell u the truth..I am worried that what is going on is VASCULAR ..some vein or artery pressed under something..I donno..it just is something that is causing all of the misery...STILL..everyday, I deal with something..I don't know what area will be worse or fwhat symptom I will have to deal with today.
I have been having severe leg pain,up under my knees it feels as if someone is trying to pull out my veins under those knees...PAINFUL and walking..u might as well forget it..maybe to the restroom,where if I need to brush my teeth, I usually cry from the agony I have to deal with while I am having to concentrate on brushing my teeth GOOOD.
I lay in bed with my legs elevated most of the time. MY head has the same kind of pain,but more like someone is trying to drive a nail into it sometimes or press their thumb deep into my temple area.I know yall know the pain. I know you all understand and I am greatful for finding you guys. I sure hope that after I get my plates out that I will be a new person. If I have SOME pain..I will be able to handle it..it is just the AGONIZING PAIN I CAN DO WITHOUT...
I know you feel the same way @ pain..rather do without it,but God has a reason 4 everything he does. It is just heck and that's not the correct way to explain it, but I pray that Russ gets the relief he needs and Back4more can also find peace..U guys have been a life saver for me..I feel comforted in some way..THanks..<3.
I know these plates in my neck are not right, they feel wrong and it could be the whole problem. If I could just get an answer to what it is. If someone would just tell me already what it is that is causing burning,aching,cramping,weakness,fatigue,blurry vision,congest(anti-biotics won't get rid of it),and the stabbing,piercing,throbbing,itching and I forgot sensitivity to just @ everything..and there's soreness that could hit anywhere and it is a pain. SOO many pains that I shouldn't be experiencing..at all.
I do have to say that my plates protrude to where I feel them move and I can even feel the screws in my neck. GROSS.. I also have two knots on top of my surgery site and they even contain pus in them, if I try to push ever so lightly on them. NOW, if I don't have infection in my body like they say, then what the blank is this?
I have made up my mind to get WELL one way or another...I am not giving up. I am looking at my Thyroid levels too..I am wondering if this could be the culprit of all of this. who knows, but I think IT is my plates that should have and need to be TAKEN OUT..
Take care guys and gals..I hope all is well. Prayers everyone..they work..:)))))
GOD BLESS.. Karen

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on 02/06/2011 8:50pm

Russ,
You said if we wanted the results or review of tests, to let u know. I want them. I think they will come in handy.I am interested in having them though. Thank Russ..:)
I wanted to say something to Briannasmommy. I sure hope u have resolved ur issues as well. I didn't mean to leave u out. I am just trying my derndest..lol..if that is a word..I do live in Arkansas..if that helps. Sounds like ur giving up. Don't do that. By what I read it said that you haven't found anything here, but we're here and personally I think, I got some good info. I am thinking if I get my plates out that my life restore to some of what it was and that is fine by me. IT sure does beat what I am going through now. Keep ur chin up..Time tells all. :)))) <3Karen GOD BLESS>> and I will keep all of u in my prayers...k?

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on 04/12/2011 4:48pm

I am so scared yall. I am having swelling areas on my head. My neck constantly hurts. I am dizzy,nauseated, and light-headed and feel like I could die. I don't want to die, but I can't seem to find anyone to help me. What am I gonna do? Does anyone know of a good NS in or around a 60--100 mile radius of Memphis,TN. I am @ an hour away from Memphis and @ two hours away from Litttle Rock, AR. Something is going on in my head and it feels like it is VASCULAR..and it scares me. I can't think straight and am just suffering in this bed with so much PAIN and discomfort..WHAT DO I NEED TO DO 4 a DOC 2 HEAR ME? OR BETTER YET, WHERE IS ONE THAT WILL HELP ME? I HAVE BEEN TO SO MANY TO TRY AND FIND THE ANSWER AND AM JUST ADDING TO MY LIST OF THINGS WRONG WITH ME...SO FRUSTRATED..I GUESS, I LIVE IN SUCH A SMALL TOWN AND THERE AREN'T ANY NEUROS...OF ANY KIND. I HAVE SEEN TWO IN JONESBORO, AR..THEY DID FIND WHAT TO ME SEEMS SERIOUS...LET ME WRITE IT DOWN AND SEE IF ANY OF YOU WOULD FREAK OUT IF YOU SAW THIS ON A REPORTON A BRAIN MRI

IT SAYS, " THERE IS A SMALL TANGLED AREA OF VESSELS IN THE LEFT HEMISPHERE INFERIORLY W/NO ASSOCIATED ABNORMAL FLAIR SIGNAL( FLAIR WAS IN ALL CAPS). THERE IS ONE DOMINANT VESSEL EXTENDING FROM THIS"...AND I DID READ WHERE THIS IS ATTACHED TO A VENOUS ANGIOMA. IT ALSO SAYS THAT I HAVE A LESION...."A LESION"...AND THEY NEVER EVEN TOLD ME @ IT...( THIS REPORT I FOUND FROM A DISC THAT WAS OVER A YR. OLD)...GEE, I AM STILL HERE, BUT BARELY..I AM AFRAID..

WHAT DOES A PERSON DO THAT IS SUFFERING AND HAS ALL OF THIS INFO...HAS BEEN TO SEVERAL DOCS, BUT THEY WON'T FIX ME OR HELP ME GET BETTER..ALL THEY WILL DO IS GIVE ME MEDICINE, IN WHICH, I AM GREATFUL, BUT WHAT @ ME LIVING 4 A LONG TIME.
iS THIS THING GOING TO KILL ME??? I SURE WOULD LIKE TO KNOW B4 IT IS TOO LATE..
I PRAY THAT 'LORD WILLING', I WILL LIVE A LONG TIME..BUT THAT IS UP 2 THE BIG GUY UPSTAIRS...:))) <3 Karen

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on 04/13/2011 6:53pm

Is this good advice?
TO BRIANNAS MOMMY
I don't understand! You posted many calls for help and told us of your fears etc of wanting to having hardware removed, . Just like the one you posted today. And then you posted on 6/10/10 that you had the surgery 4/10/10 and thanked us for our support.
I do not know why you post the same thing yearly yet claim to have the surgery in between the posts.
All I do know is that there are a great number of people on this blog who are in dreadful pain, with REAL Problems who are looking for REAL solutions. You appear to make a mockery of us.
Please find a blog that encourages creative writing. Your skills would be welcome on those pages. This blog does not. I hope that you get the proper help for whatever ails you.

For those who are not aware of Briannemommy post on this board please note her last post of June 10, 2010.

BriannasMommy
on 06/10/2010 12:59pm
Thank you everyone who responded. I had the surgery 4/16/2010. Once inside he found ALL OF THE SCREWS broken, hardware everywhere. He removed severalinches of scar tissue and repaired two more herniations. I do feel a little better but the left leg pain and hip pains are STILL unbearable.

I am now in physical therapy and hopefully soon I will feel more relief. Overall, I am just thankful he said I cannot CURE YOU, I can only HELP YOU! I am thankful for him.

Carolyn

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on 05/06/2011 5:34am

I AM SO TIRED AND FRUSTRATED OVER HAVING TO SUFFER, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO ME POSSIBLY LOSING THE USE OF MY ARMS AND LEGS, THEN i AM ANGRY AND HURT. JUST TO THINK THAT A DOCTOR CAN LEAVE YOU IN THAT CONDITION, BECAUSE MY DOC(NS) HAS MADE A SERIOUS ERROR IN JUDGEMENT, SOMEWHERE. I THINK THAT HE HAD TO DO SOMETHING WRONG, SOMWHERE.
THE LEVEL OF PAIN I IN THERE OR SOMETHING COME LOOSE, BUT HE WOULDN'T ADMIT IT..WHAT DOCTOR THAT YOU KNOW OF WOULD? AND I AM THE PATIENT, THE ONE THAT SHOULD COUNT AND I FEEL I HAVE BEEN LEFT BEHIND AM THE ONE THAT COUNTS. . I AM SEVERYLY IN ANGUISH EVERYDAY AND I AM SOOO MAD BECAUSE IT IS JUST NOT FAIR.
HE TELLS ME RIGHT AFTER THE SURGERY THAT IAVE TO WAIT A YR. UNTIL THE SURGERY FUSION HAS OCCURED, BUT THERE IS ONE CATCH TO THAT STATEMENT.. IT ONLY TAKE 6-7 WEEKS FOR FUSION TO OCCUR AND AFTER I DID WAIT A YR. THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS WENT OUT, SOOOO, IF I HAD ANY KIND OF PROBLEM WITH WHAT HE HAD DONE...I COULD DO NOTHING TO TAKE CARE OF MY LIFE...MY LIFE IS NOT A LIFE ANYMORE..I LAY IN BED AND SUFFER. I AM LOSING THE USE OF MY ARMS AND LEGS AND HE WON'T LIFT A FINGER TO TRY AND HELP ME. I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW COULD SOMEONE DO THAT TO A PERSON.
I WENT TO SEE HIM 9 OUT OF 11 OF THE FIRST YR. OF SURGERY AND TOLD HIM THAT MY RIGHT ARM WAS KILLING ME WITH BURNING, ACHING AND THE FEELING LIKE MY ELBOW HAD BEEN HIT OVER AND OVER BY A HAMMER....A HAMMER MIND YOU. CAN YOU IMAGINE SOMEONE HITTING YOUR FUNNY BONE OVER AND OVER...IT IS NOT FUNNY. I AM IN HELL ON EARTH..THAT IS ALL I CAN SAY @ THE PAIN. THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY SYMPTOMS TO MENTION. I CAN SAY THAT I BURN, ACHE,CRAMP,KNOT-UP,JERK,JUMP(inside), BLURRY VISION,MY BODY IS SORE FROM HEAD TO TOE AND MY MIND IS WEIRY. I HAVE HEAD PAIN AND HEART PAIN (literally, have chest pain). I HURT AND AM STUCK IN THIS BED AND HAVE LOST MY CAREER OF MUSIC. I WORKED WITH THE BEST COUNTRY MUSIC PERFORMERS IN NASHVILLE ONCE UPON A TIME, BUT NOW, THIS IS NOT A LIFE. I CAN'T PLAY MY GUITAR OR SING LIKE I USED TO. IT HURTS MY HEART THAT WAY TOO. I FEEL NEGLECTED BY MY DOCTOR. LAST TIME I WENT WAS @ A MONTH OR SO AGO AND WHEN I FINALLY GOT INTO HIS ROOM FROM THE LOBBY, I WASN'T IN THE ROOM 5 MIN. B4 SOMEONE COME AND GOT ME OUT, BUT THAT WAS DUE TO THE PIECE OF PAPER THAT WAS LAYING THERE. I ALMOST DIDN'T READ IT, BUT FELT IT WAS MINE, SO, I PICKED IT UP AND IT SAID, "MRS. ELMORE WAS HERE LAST TIME STATING THAT HER PLATES IN HER NECK HAD MOVED,THEY HAD." NOW, WHAT DO YOU GET FROM THAT? I GOT THAT MY PLATES HAD MOVED...WELL, MAYBE THAT MIGHT BE THE REASON 4 ALL OF THE PAIN AND AGONY THAT I HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING.
I JUST WISH THERE WAS SOMETHING I COULD DO BESIDES SUFFER. I AM ONLY A YOUNG WOMAN WITH TWO YOUNG BOYS AND IT IS JUST NOT FAIR TO THEM. THEY JUST NEED THEIR MOM, SO MUCH, MY PARENTS ARE SO TIRED OF WAGGING ME FROM DOCTOR TO DOCTOR TO TRY AND FIND IF THERE IS ANYTHING THAT WE CAN FIND THAT WOULD BE THE ANSWER. NONE OF THEM WANT TO GET INVOLVED, IT SEEMS. I DON'T UNDERSTAND, I DON'T HAVE ANY KIND OF LAWSUITS AGAINST ANYONE OR DID I EVEN TRY. I WAS TOLD I HAD $1,000,000,000.00 LAWSUIT, BUT I AM A CHRISTIAN AND WE DON'T DO THAT TO OUR BROTHER OR SISTER. I SEE NOW THAT IN CASES SUCH AS THIS, IT WOULDN'T HAVE BEEN WRONG, I DON'T BELIEVE. I DON'T KNOW, BUT IT JUST ISN'T RIGHT TO PURPOSELY JUST NOT HELP SOMEONE..PURPOSELY.
HE IS SUCH A FRIENDLY ACTING INDIVIDUAL AND YOU WOULD THINK THAT SOMEONE LIKE THAT WOULD HAVE A HEART BEATING IN THAT CHEST, SOMEWHERE. HE JUST DOESN'T PUT FORTH ANY EFFORT. HE DOESN'T SEEM TO TRY TO FIND SOMEONE ELSE WHO COULD HELP ME. WHY DOESN'T HE RECOMMEND THAT I SEE ANY OTHER DOC OR SOMETHING, BUT NOTHING. IT IS UNREAL. I WILL TELL YOU THAT I HAD MY SURGERY DONE ON HUMPHRIES BLVD. IN MEMPHIS, TN. AND THAT THE DOCTOR'S LAST INITIAL IS "F", JUST IN CASE YOU ARE IN SEARCH OF ONE, YOU CAN AVOID THAT ONE. NO, JUST CONTACT ME AND THEN I CAN GIVE YOU THE NAME. I JUST DON'T WANT TO DO THAT.
I HAVE SO MUCH INTENSE PAIN AT THE BACK OF MY NECK AND THE BASE OF MY SKULL WHERE THERE ARE RIDGES AT THE BACK OF THE HEAD. I MEAN IF THERE IS SUFFERING, I HAVE IT AND IT IS NOT TRIVIAL AND I FEEL LIKE I AM FIGHTING 4 MY LIFE. THE PAIN FEELS LIKE A VICE GRIP(OF THE SKULL ALL THE WAY DOWN MY NECK). I HURT SO MUCH IN THIS AREA THAT I LOOKED UP THE SYMPTOMS AND THEY ALL COME BACK IN THE SAME AREA IN MY NECK AS MY SURGERY, BUT THE SYMPTOMS ARE PROGRESSING AND INTENSEFYING. I KNOW THAT MY LAST NL POINTED TO THE BACK OF MY NECK WHILE WE(MY MOM & ME),SAT THERE ANDN HE SAID THAT HE SAW A COMPRESSION RIGHT IN THAT HUMP THAT I THINK THEY CALL IT THE DOWENGER'S HUMP. I MUST SAY HE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD, I THINK, BECAUSE I CAN'T EVEN TOUCH THAT AREA OR PUT PRESSURE EVEN ON IT FROM TIME TO TIME, BUT FROM THE C5-C6 AND 7 AREA, HE COULDN'T SEE IT FOR THE ARTIFACT(THAT IS WHEN THERE IS A SHADOW COVERING THE AREA YOU NEED TO SEE, LIKE MY TITANIUM PLATES THREW A REFLECTION OFF OF SOMETHING).
THERE WERE SOME OF MY SYMPTOMS SEEM TO GO FURTHER THAN THOSE AREAS IN MY NECK, THEY GO FROM THE TOP OF MY HEAD, LITERALLY A LUMP AT THE CROWN, IN WHICH, IS VERY TENDER TO THE TOUCH AND THE HAIR AROUND IT IS VERY SENSITIVE. ALSO, I HAVE THESE TINY LITTLE KNOTS THAT COME UP ON MY HEAD UNDER THE SKIN. THE THING @ THOSE ARE IS THAT THEY ARE THERE ONE MINUTE AND THEN, YOU CAN FEEL AND IT WOULD MOVE OR BE GONE. NOW, THAT IS IKE HER HOUSE TO BE CLEAN, BUT CAN'T DO A TINGA SCARY THING.
I MEAN HAVE SYMPTOMS THAT GO FROM MY SHOULDERS, NECK AND ARMS, THEN, I HAVE ONES THAT SEMM TO TAKE OVER. I CAN SAY THAT I DON'T HAVE A DAY WITHOUT PAIN AND IT IS A HORRIBLE WAY TO LIVE YOUR LIFE. I HAVE SYMPTOMS THAT ARE SO SCARY THAT THEY WILL GET YOU TO THinKING YOU ARE DYING. I TELL YOU THAT I CAN'T DO ANYTHING EITHER, FOR IF I DO HAVE A GOOD DAY AND DO SOMETHING LIKE PULL THE CLOTHES OUT OF THE DRYER. I WILL BE DOWN FOR 2 OR 3 DAYS IN SEVERE PAIN. 2, IN WHICH IS MAKING ME WONDER IF WHAT HAS BEEN DONE EITHER BY MY SURGERY OR COULD BE THAT I HAVE TWO THINGS GONG AT THE SAME TIME. I FEET THAT MY SURGERY I AM PROGRESSING AT A FAST PACE
I AM SO HEARTBROKEN. I WANT TO DO SO MUCH, BUT NOW MY ARMS ARE BECOMING HEAVY, IN WHICH IS A NEW SIGN. I NEVER KNOW WHAT IS COMING. <3 Karen

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on 05/04/2011 1:59am

I am sorry 4 that last post, I was going to go back over and correct my mistakes, but fell asleep, so my husband was nice enough to post it, but it is a mess. Please forgive me, but I am in such a desperate state of need of someone to help me. My brain seems to hurt, if that makes sense to anyone...I am sure it does. I know, I am not the only one that says their BRAIN hurts. Sometimes, it feels like someone is pushing their thumb into my skull.
I just recently have been getting so many head pains and strange headaches, if you can call it thata. It is more like just when I bend over or sneeze or cough. Strange how you can feel it, but then it is not as strong, but still there,.
It seems to be progressing and I am scared and can still think, sometimes, but feel like I am in a fog and it has got me to wondering if maybe, I am having an allergic reaction to all of this med. that htey have me on. It is posible and I do have allergies..
i have to say that the post above it absolutely ridiculas. I was half asleep when I tried to do it in he first place. I tried to even edit the post, but it is so large that I worked on it and just @ said everything I wanted to say. The computer was doing a downloead of FP update and it just cut if off. So, I just left it. Who knows I might be having something serious, I think it is, but the doctors are stumped and are not helping me. One even sent me a letter saying nicely that they just couldn't help me. The doc said it was out of his area of expertise, but why can't they send you to someone who can.
I will be beck earlier tomorrow and maybe then I will be able to describe all of it for you. it is bad and I know that, just want someone to lead me to who I need to see...that will have some kind of idea of what in the world his happening to me.
Take care all and my prayers are always with you...<3 Karen

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on 05/22/2011 5:13pm

Hi Karen. I'm so sorry you are having such pain and bad doctors. I don't recall if you said you have insurance or not. But a neurologist I used to see for brain problems retired and moved to Knoxville.
I know he stills sees patients there but not certain how often. His patients are like family to him so you would be in excellent hands. Is Knoxville too far for you? If not, I would highly recommend him and bring all your films etc with you. He can help you.

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on 06/01/2011 10:02pm

I have been reading these posts about hardware removal. I would like to have my hardware removed, but it is from T9-S1. Does anyone know about removing hardware in this area? I have developed pudendal nerve pain and think it may be that a screw is pressing against a sacral nerve root. On the other hand, I am afraid of removing it, because I may lose the correction and get crooked again. I do have osteoporosis. I do have a surgeon who is willing to remove the hardware. He ordered a CT scan, and the fusion is solid. Does anyone have any information regarding this matter?

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