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View Full Version : what are the symptoms of hardware infection ?



leannebr
12-11-2011, 11:35 PM
I have heard you cant detect it with blood tests and that you don't have a fever. Has anyone out there had infection on their hardware ?

LindaRacine
12-12-2011, 12:16 PM
Hardware can't really become infected, since it has no blood supply. If the patient becomes infected, the bug can sort of cozy up to the implants, and become difficult to treat. The symptoms of an infection include increase in body temperature, high white blood cell count, pain, and redness of the surgical site.

At UCSF, the surgeons routinely take swabs of patients who have revision surgeries. I think they find that about 1/3 of the patients will actually grow something. So, infection is probably more common than is reported, but much of it may be innocuous.

--Linda

leannebr
12-12-2011, 01:31 PM
Recent WBC is a little low, HCT op is a little high.
My past Lymph was low and Mono high but those were last checked late July.
Severe deep pain all the time and getting worse. Used to feel better after laying down and relief from Oxycodon but now pain is so intense all the time it's hard to be up at all. Cant stand to move. Intense burning stinging itching in hardware. Still terrible and worsening sweats. I feel the burn, then headache and I become soaked, then chills and nauseous. I dont seem to ever have a fever.
How is infection or bacteria on the hardware detected ?

JenniferG
12-12-2011, 05:00 PM
Very sorry to hear this Leanne. How terrible that you're still not getting any relief. If only you could see one of the well recommended surgeons here. Someone who'll take you seriously and not give up on you.

leannebr
12-12-2011, 11:23 PM
Linda,
105 views.... and I am unable to see other replies for help.....?

LindaRacine
12-12-2011, 11:42 PM
Linda,
105 views.... and I am unable to see other replies for help.....?

Sorry, I don't understand.

Pooka1
12-13-2011, 06:52 AM
Recent WBC is a little low, HCT op is a little high.
My past Lymph was low and Mono high but those were last checked late July.
Severe deep pain all the time and getting worse. Used to feel better after laying down and relief from Oxycodon but now pain is so intense all the time it's hard to be up at all. Cant stand to move. Intense burning stinging itching in hardware. Still terrible and worsening sweats. I feel the burn, then headache and I become soaked, then chills and nauseous. I dont seem to ever have a fever.
How is infection or bacteria on the hardware detected ?

Have you told these symptoms to an immunologist or infectious disease specialist? I think you may have and I simply don't remember. Clearly something is causing your symptoms. Unfortunately, it is not clear which specialist is needed.

I can't remember... did Mayo clinic accept your case? If not, there must be other groups working on "mystery" illnesses.

As a last resort, contact that TV, "Mystery Diagnosis" (or whatever it is called). Although I think they show cases that have already been solved, they might be able to tell you of some doctors that work with unusual cases.

Good luck, Leanne. And I think you should keep posting here in case someone reads something that sparks a thought that gets you to the right person to help you. This has gone on for too long.

A shout out to Jess... I can't remember if I asked you if Leanne's symptoms could be those of Lyme. Where do you live, Leanne? What state?

Pooka1
12-13-2011, 07:03 AM
Okay I just checked the website for that medical show. I cannot find any doctor list or any help for people trying to get a diagnosis. Scratch that idea.

leannebr
12-14-2011, 12:46 AM
If there's anyone who knows of help with "mystery cases" like mentioned please reply. I am just someone who hasn't chosen to file complaints even though it's been recommended. I just want to find help. Filing complaints through all of this wouldn't get me good health care. I have expressed my frustrations over many months from time to time here and that probably wasn't right. I have been just looking for help. It's been a long road and I hope to find some answers and the right Dr. My situation, my symptoms and pain and all of things Ive experienced following my surgery haven't been ordinary I realize that. Because of this I feel lost and alone in a way. Everyone who posts here seems to be able to relate to one another with more common problems and to get answers, help and solutions and get better. That's all I want. Is to get better. And I do realize there are many out there less fortunate that myself. Thanks for the help and suggestions. I keep coming back because I haven't given up.

JenniferG
12-14-2011, 02:55 AM
I think most of us would love to help Leanne, but don't know how. I was hoping someone who'd had an infection against their hardware might offer some information. You need all the help you can get.

leannebr
12-15-2011, 03:21 AM
I was previously tested for Lymes disease, I think it was in April. But the Methotrexate that was in my system for months could interfere with the results being accurate I guess..

I live in Minnesota. I have not seen an infectious disease Dr. Would they be able to detect if there was an infection on the hardware, would that be the right Dr to see ? What I'm reading says it can be very hard to detect, and blood test wont usually detect that type of infection.

I just just had another CT of the thoracic. Report says no fusion at T 2-3, T 9-10, and T 11-12. I'm 13 months post surgery so this is really disappointing news for me today. Basically my body l is hanging on my rods..The screws and hardware sting and burn with pain all the time and I'm told often that it's probably because I have thin tissue coverage. They say the screws and hardware are predominant and probably irritating me inside. Inadequate tissue coverage is a contraindication for the implants in the Medtronic CD Horizon Manual.
I have 2 more likely non-absorbed sutures a yr after surgery now poking out and painful. My surgeon said "hang in there" when I mentioned last april. One at top of incision near neck sharp bump that stings, and same at hip graft area that aches and stings. ( 1st one was surgically removed when it pocked out like a nail and grew bigger)
I will write more on where Ive been, what Ive been through and where I am now and experiencing if anyone is interested.. I took a sleep aid and a pain med and I feel drunk now so typing is not an easy task. :) Going to go BACK to bed. Thanks Jennifer and " Pooka". :)

titaniumed
12-15-2011, 10:55 PM
I am so sorry about this. It would probably be best to take things real slow until they come up with a plan.

Ed

mabeckoff
12-15-2011, 11:32 PM
I am so sorry about this

mariposateach
12-17-2011, 06:11 AM
I'm so sorry about your pain and worries. My original surgery was last March. After being home for only 3 days, home health care detected abnormalities at my surgical site and I also had a fever. I was transported the 4 hours back to the hospital at UCSF. I spent another 4 weeks in the hospital being treated for my very rare infection. I was reopened three more times for "wash outs"and for antibiotics to be placed inside. It's been nine months since my first surgery and I am still slowly recovering. I take a large dose of antibiotics daily and will be taking them indefinitely. I do worry if they killed all of the infection or if it is still in there. I have been told that bacteria do like to hang out around hardware. Linda is correct, if you have an infection you will probably have a fever and it will show in your blood count. Your scar may also be red or may reopen. I see an infectious disease doctor regularly, but there is not much he can really do. He admits that I may still have remnants of the infection in me, but hopefully my antibiotics will kill them all eventually. It's a bit scary. I continue to feel some of the same pain you are describing, but I have been reassured that is is just the muscles and nerves doing their thing. My screws at T3 - T6 are also prominent - it's uncomfortable but I am just trying to live with it. I am allowed to take ibuprofen now, and it helps the pain more than anything else. I am also still taking gabapentin and baclofen. I am an elementary school teacher and am finally going to return to work in January. I have been volunteering at my school for the past two weeks to help me get back in the swing of things. My stamina is not good and I am exhausted and in pain when I get home. Even so, it is wonderful to be back in the real world doing what I love to do! Good luck trying to resolve your concerns. It really is daunting. I hope you get help with your pain and fusion issues also... I'll be following your progress.

leannebr
12-17-2011, 04:08 PM
What is usually the next step when there are areas on non union after 13-14 months ? Is it going back in and attempting to re-fuse these areas with some of you rib bone and this bone protein stuff Ive seen mentioned here ? Or wait..and how long if wait..
I had extreme hopes of getting all the hardware removed -at least some of the screws and or the 2 cross links that have very severe pain. All of the hardware is very painful to touch or with any pressure, but the screws and cross link areas I cant even touch they are so painful.
Every movement creates stinging and burning. I'm not sure how long I can stand the pain. I have pain when laying down now and that used to be when I got some relief.

In regards to hardware infection, I don't think Ive had a fever. My body temp has always been very low. Now it is more normal. Ive also always had very very low blood pressure and now that has been normal and borderline high. My WBC was recently a little low and HCT high, but the surgeon that ordered it said to address these with my family Dr. Everything I have read on low WBC says issues with bone marrow, viral or other infection. High Hematocrit- HCT seems to relate to some things my symptoms have been similar too. The past low lymph and high mono results were never addressed and not even sure they should have been.
My daughter did some research on some of my symptoms with the sweats/chills and other, and she came up with atomonic dysrelexia- injury or stimuli in the spinal cord affecting nerves and blocking signals.
As Ive mentioned before, I also have 2 more predominant sharp painful bumps that sting at the top of my incision and at the bone graft on hip that are likely sutures again ( had one suture surgically removed a few months after surgery ), and wonder if the one at the base of my neck is causing the sweats...or just some micro-movement with the lack of fusion. I feel clicking with movement and laying down flat it feels like it snaps apart. I do have alot of issues going on. I know that. The auto-immune reaction after surgery ( fluid elbows and knees stiffness and pain ) and since then my knees are weak and both have developed an odd bulging like bump on the inside.
Now without full fusion I guess I just need to keep moving forward and figure out the next step so that I can get this hardware removed. My body has not seemed to want to accept it.

leannebr
12-18-2011, 01:54 AM
Cathy you have really been through alot. Only you know what that has been like to go through all of that. I'm really glad that you are recovering and getting your life back. Thanks for sharing.

titaniumed
12-18-2011, 04:50 AM
Leanne

The areas of non union will have to be re-fused. This is something that cant be ignored....Since you have had problems with this, BMP will probably be considered. Did you ever end up at Mayo? Just wondering...

Cathy

It sure has been a trial for you,(both of you) and have been wondering how you have been doing since your PM. We are glad you posted. Its good to hear that you are getting better.

Ed

LindaRacine
12-18-2011, 01:13 PM
Leanne...

If you have non-fused areas, the pain you're having is far more likely to come from the non-fusion than from the implants. I agree with Ed. You're probably going to need to have more surgery to fuse those areas.

--Linda

leannebr
12-18-2011, 02:22 PM
So, this has to be addressed now at 13-14 months post surgery ?
I agree some pain may be coming from non union areas. But the extreme stinging and soreness that I have in/on the hardware does'nt seem like what non union pain would be. I have bumps that I just assume are screws and not more sutures ( how will I know) that are so severely sore I cant touch them.
There is something really wrong when I cant even touch all these bumps/screws/ sutures(?) they are so sore they give me the chills. I wondered last night if not only are the bumps at the base of my neck and at the hip graft sutures, but that I may have more such as the one I had removed, throughout the whole incision area every where. CT's can't detect sutures or calcified sutures? The 1st one removed my surgeon said he couldn't see it on MRI even. How are they detected then ?
All that I know is, these bumps all over have severe pain, the kind like when you have a terrible sliver and leave it. If they are screws there is something seriously wrong. if they are sutures I need to know how to be sure of this.
I went to the Mayo clinic and was told by the Dr he would not help me without a referral from my surgeon. Came with all of my x-rays, Ct's etc. I had a referral from my family Dr. Not enough. I wrote 2 letters to my surgeon asking for this referral and was told he wouldn't "consider" it unless I see him for evaluation. I'm not going back to him. He could look at my current CT and evaluate from that.

LindaRacine
12-18-2011, 04:09 PM
Maybe you could have someone take some photos of your back??

JenniferG
12-18-2011, 04:29 PM
My blood boils at how you're being treated Leanne. You should be getting treatment as a matter of urgency. I'm thinking you might have to jump through one more hoop and revisit your surgeon for that referral. Then name and shame him. He's a disgrace to his profession. Some people seem to have not a skerrick of conscience.

Thank goodness for the good surgeons who do care about their patient's welfare and outcome.

leannebr
12-18-2011, 07:42 PM
I may revisit my surgeon, but trust is gone and so far he has never addressed my concerns, said "hang in there" every time I saw him, even with the past suture sticking out like a nail I waited 6 weeks then begged to have it removed. He isn't going to address or report anything wrong that would make him look bad.
The Mayo clinic may be a great place for unique situations, but a Dr that turns you away without caring about the medical issues you may have once you are there ? Is that truly caring Dr ?

Jennifer thank you for caring. The Dr's I have seen who have worked with my surgeon in the past, the appointments were a waste of time.

Linda, why or who would I take photos of my back for ? What and or how would this help ? I'm confused by your suggestion.

I re-worded my posting here. I didn't like the way it reflected my view of things lately. I am frustrated and I truly need to keep my personal view out. :)

LindaRacine
12-18-2011, 08:50 PM
I've personally never seen anything like what you describe, so I thought having pictures of the bumps might help us understand what you're describing.

Doodles
12-18-2011, 09:04 PM
Leanne--
I don't have any ideas for you either--except I can't believe how the doctors are avoiding giving you any help on this. That's just horrible. I've never understood if it is a lawsuit they are worried about, how they think ignoring someone in pain is going to help them avoid one! If there is a lot of redness along the scar and/or bumps that are visible, a picture might help someone in the know on here give you an idea. I hope you can find some answers. Janet

golfnut
12-18-2011, 09:56 PM
Leanne,
I have no other suggestions but just feel so bad that you are going through such a rough time. I hope you can get to the bottom of this and figure out what is going on so that you can start feeling better.

Joey0917
09-26-2012, 10:16 AM
I have heard you cant detect it with blood tests and that you don't have a fever. Has anyone out there had infection on their hardware ?

Oh yes, a huge infection!! I was walking, then started falling, my hips just " gave way". WBC was elevated, sed rate up, constant burning with movement...had to go to ER, they took out a liter of "stuff" And replaced ALL the hardware! On IV antibiotics with a picc-line for 8 weeks...all the while my surgeon said "you're falling b/c you're taking too many narcotics...NOT!!! Mine was found with an MRI, please follow up And follow your instincts.
Sincerely,
Laura.

Wish2bstraight
09-26-2012, 02:06 PM
Ed,

your pics are amazing and inspiring. I am 62 and looking to have surgery very close to my 63rd birthday. The concerns I have about being able to twist while coming to an intersection while driving have been relieved to some degree, since I know everyone is different.

titaniumed
09-28-2012, 12:08 AM
Laura

Thx for posting...and welcome to the forum. So sorry about the infection. Do you know what kind of metal was used in your hardware?

Wish2bstraight

Once again, thx for posting and welcome to the forum.

Yes, the pics of Zion really are amazing! (smiley face)

I have been travelling all over the west and have internet here. Iím off to Great Basin National park tomorrow morning in east Nevada and never know if I can get online....Anyway, ask any questions you like. We have great posters here!

Driving isnít an issue for me at all. I back a 31 foot RV through the trees when I camp and have not hit any buffalo yet.

Ed