I had acdf L5 S1 in 2011. Ever since that operation I had 50% loss of left leg function and every day extreme pain at the hardware location.
It felt like a brick surrounded by glass, the pain never let up, I could feel the hardware in there tearing away at muscles etc. The area always itched and was super hot to the touch. Sitting in a chair or driving was a torture task. I felt that my life would never get better, I was missing out on LIFE !!!, needless to say I had given up on life.
sO I did allot of reading about hardware allergies to titanium. I called my Doctor that did the operation and after getting the hardware manufacturer information I was then convinced it needed to come out. Reading the manufacturer instructions that some people can have allergic reactions to the hardware and that it is temporary aid in healing the discs and should be removed once the healing is completed..
I saw an allergist and he said that we can test for allergies outside the body but not inside, I also learned about a test for inside the body called MELISA which is done in Europe, so you need to have your PCP send off a blood sample to their testing lab.
I did not do the MELISA test as I was convinced that the hardware was the problem, not exactly an allergy but the hardware itself. After watching several youtube people that had their hardware removed I called the Doctor that did the operation, I had a semi fresh MRI so he saw that the fusion was complete and set a date to remove the hardware.
When I woke up from the operation ( which only took a few hours) I immediately felt a HUGE difference, that pain I suffered with all those years .....was gone. I felt my left leg again, no more pain !!!!
I kept the hardware and re assembled it, the SHARP edges of the torx securing hardware and the sharp rods really blew my mind, you could run your finger over the part of hardware left open in your back and FEEL the sharp areas.
Recovery was a few weeks and a ton of itching of re healing muscles and nerves, me left leg ( which looked like half of my right leg muscle wise is getting stronger every day.
So just my little struggle with pain winds up a happy ending.