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Prominent L4/L5/S1 hardware removal?


Im new to the community and read through old posts looking for some answers to my thoughts, but noticed most all the posts were old. So I thought I would ask a few questions.

I was born with a Pars Defect and at the age of 34 had a MIS TLIF L4/L5/S1 fusion with spacers. It was a life saver. I lasted as long as I could but eventually at a 50% slip the pain was so bad that never walking again seemed a small price to pay to be out of pain. Luckily, I saw an excellent surgeon and was a prime candidate: I remained as active as possible until the end, I was young, thin (yes, very thin), etc etc. I am not going to lie, the surgery was horribly painful and the rehab took extra long. But, I rehabbed excellently and began long-distance road biking as well as resuming other physical activity.

About two years ago, slowly, I developed pain that radiated from my surgery sight. Eventually that pain localized itself to 4 lumps on my back. Surprisingly, those 4 lumps are my screw heads and can be felt (and seven when I bend over). Over time, I have developed a "catching" sensation which I believe is scar tissue building as my muscles move over the top of the screen heads. When the pain is bad, if I press on those screws, it hurts. It feels like the tissue is deeply bruised. Then my back goes crazy and I have spasms. So, prominent hardware it is. I have worked with my surgeon who is unbelievably helpful. We started conservative and eventually I tried localized steroidal injections. Within MINUTES my pain went away. It came back slightly after a few days, then disappeared. That was 5 months ago. His comment at the time was "Don't lose any weight and don't expect PT to make this better, this is a mechanical muscle issue." He said that I had developed patellar bursitis. I do have a broken screw, and a loose screw. But the surgeon is confidant I have a solid fusion and also pretty confidant that its not my source of pain specifically. 

But, the pain is slowly returning and I am wondering about having a hardware removal. Its important to stress that I am a very active and fit person, so the idea of not moving around to avoid the tissue rubbing is difficult Plus I have little kids and well, they require a lot of moving around!

Has anyone had a hardware removal for something like this? If so, how has that turned out? Has anyone just stuck with steroidal shots 1-3 times a year instead? I really appreciate your time in reading all this. Having gone through so much pain for so very long I appreciate opinions from people who have "walked the gauntlet" themselves.



  • challengercchallenger Posts: 1,209
    edited 07/18/2019 - 2:51 PM


    Welcome to the Veritas Health Forum

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    We have a few members that have had hardware removal and hopefully they will respond, if you go to the search box at the top right and type in hardware removal there are several older discussions there, I am fused L3-L6 and C4-C7 and luckily I have had no problems with the hardware.

    Good luck and keep us posted

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