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L1 compression fracture hardware removal?

zaurenzzauren Posts: 6
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello all,

I'd really like to get some advise from people who have undergone similar procedures. It feels like a huge decision to make, sugery or no surgery...?

I fractured my L1 vertebrea in an accident 12 months ago. Due to the fracture being unstable I had metalwork (pedicle screws) inserted T12 - L2 and wore a brace for three months. The restriction in my vertebreas is causing stress on my lower lumbar region and so am considering removal of hardware to increase my flexibility.

It's a difficult decision because although I manage with day to day tasks my back pain is persistant and I am concerned it will just get worse with age... (i'm 26 now).

If anyone has any experience is metalwork removal, ie- post op recovery times, success rates, improved flexibility... I'd love some advise.

Thank you. xxx


  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,082
    Did they do a fusion of T12-L2? If so the removal of hardware won't affect your flexibility at all as those areas would now be fusing and be "one" so they would have lost their ability to flex.

    If there was no fusion but just a stabilization you could ask about hardware removal.

    Usually the hardware removal surgery, from what I heard, is quite easy (less down time and quicker recovery).

    I have a fusion L4-S1. If I was to have the hardware out nothing in my flexibility would change as that area is now solid.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • it would all depend on the condition of your vertebra at this point. Is the fracture healed? Do they feel you would have sufficient stability without the hardware? Believe me, I can relate to the immobility. If your fracture is healed, the discs seem in good shape, and they believe you would be stable, I'd probably go for the hardware removal. See what the doc has to say.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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  • Thanks for your comments. My metal work is in place bacause of an unstable fracture which is now healed and stable, so it's kinda surplus to requirements. I had a consultation with my surgon a few weeks ago and he agreed that removal would probably be for the best. There is a risk of developing further problems, due to the hardware in the long term and so as I am only 26 it seems worth while removing now. The date for my surgery is 21/12/09! I will update again on the results.

  • When is your removal surgery? Dec 12 or 21?

    I just got the news that my hardward removal surgery is scheduled for Jan. 6

    As far as mobility - if your back is fused, removing the hardware usually won't make a difference in flexibility. My NS says that the bones all fused together in there make for a solid unmoveable block. I DO have some plastic bullets (peek cages??)in my fusion - specifically placed there so that it would preserve some flexibility.

    My hardware is coming out because when I sit back on something solid it hits the screws and zings me big time! Also, the way the muscles move over the screw heads is very irritating and sometimes it catches. When that happens I'm stuck for a few minutes - can't move my left leg without extreme back pain - until it releases. After those episodes I ache in that area for at least a day. It happens every couple of days too.

    Best of luck - and keep posting on your progress post-op. I'm really anxious about recovery time and will definitely be following your posts!
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