- Stabilize the spine
- Correct deformities
- Regain motion
- Height restoration
- Pain relief
- Help heal another area of the spine
Spinal InstrumentationAll of these pieces of equipment are designed to remain in the body permanently. The hardware can be made from stainless steel, titanium, and titanium alloy. Spinal fusion is common, involves hardware, and could be necessary to help/correct:
- Spinal deformity/s
- Degenerative condition/s
- Heal fractures
- Other issues causing back pain
Spinal Hardware Removal ReasonsIf the hardware loosens, gets infected, or the patient can feel some of the hardware under the skin a surgeon will likely recommend removal. Intense, excessive pain is often a symptom of a loose screw and other hardware complications. If the hardware is protruding under the skin the patient could feel a bump that could cause pain when touched. Loose hardware could irritate the surrounding tissues and nerves, resulting in the patient feeling pain or hearing a grating, crackling, or popping sound. Loosened instrumentation can be caused by the bones of the spine not healing or fusing correctly. The hardware can also shift and break from the bones not healing properly. Other reasons for hardware failure shortly after surgery.
- Lifting heavy objects
- Participation in high-impact activities
- Trauma from accident, slip, fall, etc.
- Health conditions especially osteoporosis and osteopenia can increase the risk of the instrumentation loosening, breaking, and shifting.
How The Removal Is DoneThis type of removal surgery is typically not considered an emergency unless the nerves or spinal cord are at risk of being injured/damaged. The exact procedure depends on the individual’s specific situation and case. However, it will be easier than the first surgery. Removal is typically nowhere near the extensiveness of the initial instrumentation placement. Before the procedure, the surgeon will advise preparation tips, just as with the original surgery. To optimize recovery, patients should ensure they are in the best possible health that they can be. This means no smoking, light exercise, and even breathing exercises for optimal lung function. Patients should not begin any new medication regimen prior to the surgery and should ensure all medications are known to the surgical team. The procedure will go in through the original incision and remove any scar tissue around the hardware. Depending on the situation the hardware could be reinserted or left out entirely.
Post RemovalHospital stay depends on the individual situation. Some patients go home the same day and some have to wait. If there was an infection it more than likely means an extended hospital stay to make sure the infection is gone and has not spread elsewhere. The healthcare team will give directions just as with the original surgery which can include detailed instructions on:
- Taking meds