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Thread: hardware removal

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Dallas, TX, USA
    Posts
    114

    hardware removal

    hi, everyone! i am scheduled to have the hardware removed from l4, l5, and s1 to relieve the nerve pain that developed in my right leg 13 months ago (physical therapy, injections, and massage therapy did not resolve the situation). has anyone had a similar experience? i'd like to know if your pain was relieved and what your recuperation time was like...thanks!
    Sue


    Milwaukee Brace from ages 8 - 16
    T36 degrees/L56 degrees Pre-Op
    Fused T3 - S1
    Surgery done Sept. 15, 2004
    Dr. Robert G. Viere
    North Texas Spine Care @ Baylor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    I had some partial hardware removal but it was in the upper right thoracic side, next to the shoulder blade(around T5). For me they did a test with a cortisone shot before and after seeing how it relieved my pains, they then went ahead and removed that hook. It relieved all my nerve pains that I had on that side(like a bursitis, all the way to my neck and right arm and hand), and it was a small operation, I was in the morning out that night. Recuperation was at the most one month, but then there is scar tissue that takes more months to go away but it wasn't painful, more like annoying at times. That's my experience and it was probably a smaller procedure than what you will have done, but having hardware taken out without having it replaced is much easier to go through.

    Good luck, and I hope your pain is taken care of.
    35 y/old female from Montreal, Canada
    Diagnosed with scoliosis(double major) at age 12, wore Boston brace 4 years at least 23 hours a day-curve progressed
    Surgery age 26 for 60 degree curve in Oct. 1997 by Dr.Max Aebi-fused T5 to L2
    Surgery age 28 for a hook removal in Feb. 1999 by Dr.Max Aebi-pain free for 5 years
    Surgery age 34 in Dec.2005 for broken rod replacement, bigger screws and crosslinks added and pseudarthrosis(non union) by Dr. Jean Ouellet

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Houston TX
    Posts
    288

    to suejeryl

    I had hardware removed. It was actually pretty easy. I spent 2 days in the hospital and maybe 3 weeks recovering. Of course it was painful, but not so bad that I couldn't read and work a little at my computer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    42
    Dear Pnuttro,

    Did you have all the hardware removed? I ask because I am likely to need my titanium rods taken out (because of infection) and want to know about likely recuperation time. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Staten Island, New York
    Posts
    20

    Nerve damage

    Can I ask you what tests did your doctor do to know it was nerve damage? My daughter has paid in her butt and it goes down her right leg into her foot with tingling. She is going back to her surgeon 6/16 and I was wondering what he might suggest.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Houston TX
    Posts
    288
    Quote Originally Posted by Diana Black
    Dear Pnuttro,

    Did you have all the hardware removed? I ask because I am likely to need my titanium rods taken out (because of infection) and want to know about likely recuperation time. Thanks.
    I had a harrington rod. I was experiencing severe shocking pains intermittantly. I had shocking pains the traveled up my back, that lasted maybe a few second, but seemed like forever. The doc removed the entire rod and hooks, screws and anterior rod are still in place. In addition to the removal, I had a laminectomy, and bone spurs removed. The bone fragments were used to repair the L2/L3 fusion. (The surgeon cut adjacent to my previous scar and actually removed some of the scar tissue and my back scar looks better now.) After the surgery, the doc suggested that the rod might have been wiggling around a little, which caused my severe symptoms.

    I had the rod taken out in 2000. As I recall, I spent 3 days in the hospital. PT was amazed that I was ready to get out of bed on the second day. Usually, people see them coming and cringe. I started walking a little every day after I got home and returned to work 2-3 weeks later. I actually did some writing while lying on the couch. There was considerable pain, but improved quickly.

    I had good relief of the acute symptoms of shocking pains that traveled up my back. It did nothing for my chronic symptoms; such as aching back and some numbness in my foot.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    42
    Thanks, Pnuttro, that's encouraging. I have titanium rods, only put in last year, so I don't know how they compare. As I said, I will probably have to have them removed because they are harbouring infection (MRSA) which 7 months of antibiotics haven't shifted, so it's not a question of pain. The time in hospital and before you went back to work sound hopeful.
    All the best,
    Diana

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    Diana, you have MRSA on your rods??? How was this detected?? Have you had symptoms related to it? That's scary -- will removing the rods get rid of all of it? Sorry for all the questions, but my mother-in-law went through hell when she got a MRSA infection on her heel (in a hospital, of course). She's okay now, but she may still harbour MRSA cells on her foot. She lives with us, and I'm like a crazy woman with the Lysol spray.
    Chris

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    42
    Hi, Singer!

    Yes, contracted MRSA during second op (there were two, a week apart). I became very feverish and actually can't remember much about it, but then the morphine had already made me delirious, given me bad trips, etc, so I don't know how much was that. Anyway, something must have made them test for it. It spread to my pleural fluids and I ended up having a tracheotomy (horrible) as I was having trouble breathing on my own when they took me off the ventilator. Then put on internally administered vancomycin. Tested negative when I came out of hospital (after 10 weeks, most of it in intensive care). but it flared up again in Movember, when a big blister appeared on the scar. Since then the wound has not cleared, although the latest antibiotics (very strong) have made some difference, and I have been going to my local clinic for a wound-dressing twice a week. Have flu-like symptoms from time to time and have not been at work since February. I had an MRSA scan last month, which showed up fluid around the rods, so taking them out is probably the only real solution.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    near Philadelphia
    Posts
    1,260
    Oh...my....God!! What a story. I hope the rod removal puts an end to the problem. How has your recovery from the actual back surgery gone -- are you pleased with the results?
    Chris

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Fernley, Nevada
    Posts
    352
    Diana,
    Hang in there....I also had MRSA and ended up having my rods out. Like you I had a small blister that opened and started draining. This was 4 months after the intial A/P. My doc went in for a total of 4 times.The 4th time the rods came out. Like you I have IV Vanco and also oral Riphampin. The infection didn't clear up until after the rods were removed. A total of 6 major surgeries in 8 months was the "pits" Once the rods were out, I got well. All this was in 2001. Having the rods taken out is not nearly as bad as putting them in. Good luck
    SandyC

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    313

    How common is this?

    Does anyone know how common this MRSA is and if there is anything that we can check on in the hospital before we go in? Also, what month were your surgeries done in, Sandy and Diana? I am thinking of having my surgery done in the summer and wondered if they are high infection months or if this can happen anytime?

    Deb

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Fernley, Nevada
    Posts
    352
    Deb,
    Getting MRSA or any other infection doesn't have anything to do with time of year. MRSA is what the media calls "superbug". Methicillin Resistante Staph Aurias came about because of years of misuse of antibiotics. It is diffucult to get rid of because there are few medicines that can kill it. That is why Diana and I were on IV Vancomycin. I know in my case that I had a PICC Line (home IV) for 4 months with the Vancomycin. Home Health nurse would come to my house every week to take blood and make sure my IV was OK. The reason for the weekly blood work is because Vanco can effect the liver. Long term use can also cause deafness. MRSA can happen at anytime, just like any other infection. Most patients don't get MRSA, but I don't know the stats about infection rate. I do know that the more invasive the surgery the higher risk there is for complications.
    SandyC

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    42
    Yes, Sandy's right. My ops were in Jan/Feb and in the hospital with the 3rd best record in the UK of keeping clear of MRSA!! I think the stats are quite scarey - about 40% here (for all hospital in-patients) and only slightly lower in the US. Japan has the highest rate, which ties in with resistance to germs (they are fanatically clean and have loads of antibacterial products, even cellphones!). My doc is still hoping the ramphicin will work, but, whenever the wound looks like clearing up, it seems to burst open again. I've had it since November. And I did have an MRI scan that showed infected fluid around the rods.
    The degree of correction wasn't worth it. My shoulders look straighter and my back is flatter, but I look as bad from the right side and gained no height. Even if I hadn't got the MRSA, I wouldn't have gone through the surgery for so little. I also feel stiffer, still have numb areas and my back gets painful after even less activity than before. Please think carefully, Deb!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    Diana, I'm so sorry.

    I also regret getting surgery some days, and I know what you mean about the stiffness, but I will say that it lessened a lot after time, even years. I know it's not the same as before. I hope you will get rid of your infection, and if you don't mind me asking, do you have symptoms now?
    35 y/old female from Montreal, Canada
    Diagnosed with scoliosis(double major) at age 12, wore Boston brace 4 years at least 23 hours a day-curve progressed
    Surgery age 26 for 60 degree curve in Oct. 1997 by Dr.Max Aebi-fused T5 to L2
    Surgery age 28 for a hook removal in Feb. 1999 by Dr.Max Aebi-pain free for 5 years
    Surgery age 34 in Dec.2005 for broken rod replacement, bigger screws and crosslinks added and pseudarthrosis(non union) by Dr. Jean Ouellet

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