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Thread: What does problem hardware feel like?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    459

    What does problem hardware feel like?

    For those of you who have had hardware problems:

    I've had a very sharp, sore pain in the upper, middle of my back for about 2 weeks now. It seems to be near the very top of my fusion. At night when I'm lying on my side to sleep, it sometimes turns into a burning sensation. I've experienced pain in this area and a bit lower at times in the past , but never the burning, and the pain always went away after a couple of days...this is not going away however. I know that in the past, the pain was due to me just overdoing something, usually reaching further than I should for something or turning more quickly than I should have, but I can't pinpoint anything that could have caused this. I'm wondering if it might be a screw or brackett coming loose or another type of hardware issue. Regardless, I will be calling my surgeon's office next week if the pain continues.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    913
    That's the pain I had in the past, and when they took off my hook it went away. It was not loose. Now again I have pain in my thoracic screws(around T5), and it is not loose as the surgeon shook me and played with it during this last surgery and it was solid. I just have a hard time dealing with hardware there. A lot of people do, it causes bursitis. Rest, icing and no repetetive movements help, and I'm awaiting some types of injections if it doesn't go away.

    My ortho said that it COULD be that the screws hit a nerve there, or that it is unstable due to the positioning.
    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
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    459
    Thanks Sweetness. My surgeon did say last year just after surgery that if I continued to have issues with it he would consider removing whatever was causing the pain, but he wanted to give me at least a year of healing before doing anything because of all of the changes that the body goes through. I think he was hoping I would "grow out of it"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    The same thing was suggested from my ortho at the time, and finally at a year 4 months post op, he took it out. It's a small procedure, especially if it's not done too many years down the line, of course if it comes to that for you, if it doesn't go away. Really healed quickly too, about two weeks. Just make sure it is that, and I did by having a cortisone shot where the pain was before hand, as suggested by my doctor.
    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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Tasmania
    Posts
    259

    what does problem hardware feel like?

    Sweetness, I have been getting the same feeling around T5 as well Thankyou for the information on it, it has set my mind as ease. Never the less I am going to get my ortho specialist to have a look as until I read your post I honestly didnt know what to think.

    That is why this site is so valuable, thanks so much.

    Macky
    Operation 1966, Fused from T4 to L3, had Harrington rods inserted. Originally had an 85 degree Thoracic curve with lumbar scoliosis as well but had a good correction.
    Perfectly normal life till 1997 but now in a lot of pain daily. Consider myself very fortunate though.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Wheeling, WV
    Posts
    1,105
    Hi Sweetness,

    Am I understanding correctly, that is is possible to remove one screw??? And if so does it cause any weakening in that area???

    Shari

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    No problem, I think that's why I love reading on this site, it helps me and I learn everyday too.

    Shari, it is possible to remove parts of the rods, screws(one or more). In my case, it didn't cause weakening in the area, but I can't speak for anybody else. Of course it's much better than removing all the hardware, that can be more dangerous from what I read. The thing is, when they removed that part at over one year post op, it had been literally hurting a LOT ever since I had the surgery, and was even affecting me lifting my arm, so it was decided to be taken out. This time, I have pain around the same area but a bit lower and on the left side also, but it's not constant, and so I am not having anything taken out-just b/c I already did in that area and I will try other treatments. I am also not fused high enough according to my surgeon, but the surgeon who performed surgery on me didn't want to fuse higher as he suspected I could have problems in the area, as I do.

    Hope I'm making sense
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    California
    Posts
    269
    I too had problems with instrumentation in my thoracic spine. After my surgery (right when i woke up) I had lost motion in my right arm greater than 90* and it was very painful. I also felt like I couldnt breathe. Come to find out that part of my right lung had collapsed, I had a build up of fluid around my lung (pleural effusion) and I had pneumonia. Who knows what of this besides the pain and ROM was related to the hardware, but it was all after the surgery. About 10 months after my first surgery I had the right rod remvoed because we could not pin point it to one piece of hardware and I have not had problems with it since then. My lung has not given me problems since then and other than problems below the fusion, everything is great.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    459
    Thanks everyone for your posts. I've been working on a large PowerPoint presentation everyday for the past 3 weeks and that's not normal for my job. It's causing me to spend a lot more time sitting and typing than I normally do. The project is finally complete so I'm going to give this one more week and see how it goes. I feel good today after a busy weekend of travel, so I'm thinking it might be attributed to something at work. I'll keep you updated...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    131
    I tried to address this very same thing in a post a few weeks ago when I asked If anyone had hot spots. No one answered so I must have asked it the wrong way. Mostly when I am laying down and a screw head or maybe some of the cage hits a nerve, I get a hot pain that sometimes will take out 1/2 my back or side. It just depends on where it punches the nerve. I am very thin now 125 lbs down fron almost 170, so the screw heads once in a while will poke threw the muscle. If I may, could I ask if you are thin too?
    Jess
    March 23, 2006 Anterior/posterior Ileum-T2
    15 1/2 Hours
    Dr. Tom Lowe R.I.P.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    459
    Jess,

    I'm thin too. 5"2 and 105 lbs. I've actually gained back 10 of the 15lbs that I lost after surgery. At that point, you could feel the screw heads and parts of the brackets poking against my skin...YUCK!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    131
    Heidi, I am no medical giant but I do know that the more beef you can put on the better you can lean against things, car seats really kill me and give hot spots. Trouble is most people you talk with and ask questions can't understand the thin thing. I had a feeling when I read your post that you were a T/T (Thin/Thing) I am sure by what you have posted that there must be something else that the doc will find but, skinny isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
    Keep us posted on what's going on.
    My Best, Jess
    March 23, 2006 Anterior/posterior Ileum-T2
    15 1/2 Hours
    Dr. Tom Lowe R.I.P.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    459
    Thanks Jess. Yup...I'm one of those people most people hate because all of my life I've struggled to gain weight and most people can't understand anyone wanting to put on weight. Now that I'm past 30, I am putting some weight on, but it's all going to my stomach and sides and no where else....it's a genetic thing...all of the women in my family gain weight in their tummies. I'm trying to keep an eye on it now as I've learned that women that gain in their tummies vs. other areas are more susceptible (sp?) to heart problems.

    I'll let you know how this week goes. We spent the weekend at a friends house using their pillows, and my back felt good...no pain in that area. I woke up this am and had the pain again. Now I'm thinking it might be my pillow and not work-related at all! Guess I'll be shopping for a new pillow tonight!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    131
    Boy I know the pillow thing. I could open my own store.
    March 23, 2006 Anterior/posterior Ileum-T2
    15 1/2 Hours
    Dr. Tom Lowe R.I.P.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    I now put a nice cushion in the car and even bring one in restaurants, it helps so much to sit straight and not touching hard surfaces and I also have short legs(compared to my torso). I had a lot of problems with many screws in the first year of healing, and actually I wanted my doctor to take out a few, besides that hook at T5. I was 5'5, barely 95-100 pounds after I got out of surgery, and I think time and gaining some 15-20 pounds really helped that year, b/c when my hook was taken out, it was the ony one that hurt. That's why it's good to wait, and see if certain things can help besides taking any screws out, and when everything is ruled out and the pain is a real pain in the ass, then it can be removed.

    I'm also apple shaped, but I read that as long as the waist is not over 37 inches, it's not that big of problem concerning health risks. Mine is at about 28-29. It can bring low back pain too.
    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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