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Thread: what are the symptoms of hardware infection ?

  1. #1
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    what are the symptoms of hardware infection ?

    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 ?

  2. #2
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    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
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  3. #3
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    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 ?

  4. #4
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    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.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  5. #5
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    Linda,
    105 views.... and I am unable to see other replies for help.....?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by leannebr View Post
    Linda,
    105 views.... and I am unable to see other replies for help.....?
    Sorry, I don't understand.
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Twain
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by leannebr View Post
    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?
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  8. #8
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    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.
    Sharon, mother of identical twin girls with scoliosis

    No island of sanity.

    Question: What do you call alternative medicine that works?
    Answer: Medicine


    "We are all African."

  9. #9
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    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.

  10. #10
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    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.
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  11. #11
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    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".
    Last edited by leannebr; 12-15-2011 at 02:30 AM.

  12. #12
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    I am so sorry about this. It would probably be best to take things real slow until they come up with a plan.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  13. #13
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    I am so sorry about this
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  14. #14
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    Here's my infection story

    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.
    Cathy from CA
    59 years old
    70 degree curve before surgery
    Original surgery March 2011, anterior and posterior
    T3 - sacrum
    UCSF, Dr. V. Deviren
    Infection after two weeks,
    Then four more weeks in the hospital and three more surgeries to clean out the infection

  15. #15
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    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.

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