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Should I have my hardware removed??

Started by LoriM on 07/28/2012 6:01am

I'm considering a l5s1 discectomy due to extreme leg pain from herniation, and my dr is recommending removal of old hardware simply because he's going to be "in there" anyway. The hardware is from a L4L5 fusion 5 1/2 years ago. It will make surgery a bit more extensive (disc herniation would be left side only) and I'm not sure what to do. Is it worth the extra pain/recovery time to have it removed if it's not bothering me? What are the chances it will need to be removed in the future? I'm honestly afraid of another surgery as the recovery from the fusion was quite painful.... But if will help to avoid future surgeries, I'd be more inclined to do it. Any advice? Also does anyone know how the recovery of this type of surgery compares to a fusion?

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2 Responses


I had cervical and thoracic fusion and had one level of thoracic hardware removed four years later to remove the piercing pain from the hardware loosening. I had the hardware at that level removed by the same doctor who fused my thoracic spine and recovery was a breeze. The surgery lasted less than an hour and recovery was simple and so short I can't tell you how long it took.
If I were in your shoes, I would definitely have the instrumentation removed. That surgery is simple and fast -- as is the recovery -- and may very well prevent you from having the sharp sharp pain that accompanies the loosening of the hardware.
Don't worry -- this surgery is not significant. I'm greatly relieved to have had one level of my hardware removed!
Good luck!


I would say no.
And yes you would go threw the same length of time and pain to recover.
Also you will stand a higher risk of more scare tissue that could cause more problems.
I understand if you are having work in and on the left side of your disk.
It will be a much smaller insission. You will put your self at a higher risk for infection if there going to remove the hardware. Most doctors don't like to remove the hardware unless it's broke or it is causing
You more pain. I too have some pain every now and then on my right side down my leg.
Try a pack of ice or see if your doctor can put you on medication for arthritic and inflammation.
This may help. My friend had his herniated disk done and he recovered in a month and a half.
But it's still up to you. Why put your self threw unnessisary pain and recovery time.
Hope this helps.