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Thread: Hardware removal before...

  1. #1

    Hardware removal before...

    I'm wondering about getting the hardware from my 3 level fusion removed before they cause another herniated disk.
    im 18 months post op.
    I've had prior hardware cause disks to fail.


    thanks

    I've either broken every vertebra, had a fusion done or had screws(hardware)from T-8 down to L-2.
    On 11/28/16 laminectomy L-2/L-3, 3 level fusion(revision fusion T-12/L-1) rods placed from T-11 through L-1 approx. 6 screws
    02/14/11 lamy at L-1/L-2, foraminotomy at L-3/L-4 , protrusion at L5/S-1
    04/20/07 failed removal of Harrington rods left with permanent nerve damage
    09/15/85 f/x t8 thru t-11, fusion at t-9/t-10, 1 1/2" bruse on cord

  2. #2
    That's weird, I've never heard of hardware causing disks to fail.

    But my (five level I think) T9 to L1ish fusion was removed about a year after it was performed because it was causing skin breakdown (without fat or muscle over the hardware it was wearing through my skin on the inside and hitting me right where the backrest of my chair was). It wasn't a big deal, glad I did it.

    They were concerned that my spine might not be stable, which seems reasonably well founded, I now have some moderate scoliosis (spine is no longer straight), which the removal of the hardware might have contributed to. Otherwise I'm fine though, and no more skin breakdown and weird blister-like internal bruises on my back.

  3. #3
    Removal of hardware from spinal fusion is not an easy surgery, and is rarely done unless there is a problem with the hardware (breakage, causing peripheral nerve impingement, skin breakdown as above, etc.) or surrounding bone (Charcot joint, osteomyelitis).

    Where did you hear that hardware causes deterioration of disks? I have never heard or read about this in 43 years of working in SCI care.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  4. #4
    With all due respect, the Mayo Clinic seems to disagree.
    I've lived it twice, first time was my Harrington rods caused a hernation after 25 years and again after having a plate put in. The next disk down went.

    Because spinal fusion surgery immobilizes parts of your spine, it changes the way your spine can move. This places additional stress and strain on the vertebrae above and below the fused portion, and may increase the rate at which those areas of your spine degenerate.

    https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures

    Simple biomechanics
    Last edited by fireguy149; 06-07-2018 at 12:06 AM.

    I've either broken every vertebra, had a fusion done or had screws(hardware)from T-8 down to L-2.
    On 11/28/16 laminectomy L-2/L-3, 3 level fusion(revision fusion T-12/L-1) rods placed from T-11 through L-1 approx. 6 screws
    02/14/11 lamy at L-1/L-2, foraminotomy at L-3/L-4 , protrusion at L5/S-1
    04/20/07 failed removal of Harrington rods left with permanent nerve damage
    09/15/85 f/x t8 thru t-11, fusion at t-9/t-10, 1 1/2" bruse on cord

  5. #5
    But removal of your hardware will not remove the fusion. That bony fusion will still remain, although part of it may have to be removed to get the hardware out.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  6. #6
    If your doctors want to do it and you already have a complete injury, the downsides aren’t necessarily unreasonable.

    You’ll certainly be destabilizing your spine so you’ll be at pretty high risk of having another fracture since you’re already prone to osteoporosis. But I figured that if this happens for me it’s not a huge deal. The spinal cord is already dead below my level of injury so the further fractures (which presumably l have had because of my scoliosis afterward) don’t run the risk of any further neurological injury. Worst case scenario you need to have another surgery to put in more extensive hardware than you currently have to stabilize the new fractures, but there’s a decent chance to live without hardware for a while.

    Also i don’t read the above article as suggesting in any way that spinal fusion causes herniated disks (in fact herniated Disks are often repaired with a spinal fusion and diskectomy), but if your doctors at the Mayo Clinic are telling you that they probably know what they’re talking about.

  7. #7
    Re: "This places additional stress and strain on the vertebrae above and below the fused portion, and may increase the rate at which those areas of your spine degenerate.'

    i think this refers to degenerative disc disease which, in most people, is just part of the natural process of aging. Not the same as a herniated disc.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by 2drwhofans View Post

    i think this refers to degenerative disc disease which, in most people, is just part of the natural process of aging. Not the same as a herniated disc.
    this or increased chance for stress fractures is what I assumed. If the procedure to repair herniated disks (which involves a fixation often) caused you to increase the chance of herniating two other disks significantly, I’m pretty sure insurance companies would be throwing a fit about it. It would be like slashing two of your tires in order to elevate your car to fix a flat on the other wheel.

  9. #9
    My understanding is that you may not be able to safely remove hardware after some time because of the calcification. Basically it becomes embedded so removing the hardware may mean removing bone. Depending on the bone and how much you have to remove, it may not even be possible.

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