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Posted in: Scoliosis, and Surgery.

Possibility of Removing Fused Spinal Hardware

Started by josha on 02/08/2013 12:05pm

Hello, I'm Josh! I'm 20 years of age (21 in May of 2013) and have had three surgeries done on my back about five years ago for scoliosis. I have two titanium rods in my back that go from my lower neck to just above my butt, This limits me from doing many of the things a young man like me should be able to do. As the title of this discussion suggests, I am wondering if it is at all possible for me to have these metal rods removed. I'm aware that you do not have access to my x-rays and medical records, but I just want a shot at regaining my mobility and living a more normal, active life. Any advice on this topic would be greatly appreciated and I am more than willing to elaborate on my current condition. I am also looking for a spinal surgeon close by that is within my insurance network. Thank you for your time.

- Josh

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4 Responses


Hi Josh!
My son has scoliosis and he had rods in his back . He had them removed after his spine had fused where the malformed vertebrae were. Talk to your doctor, if your spine is stable removing the hardware may make you more comfortable. My son could feel the metal pieces when he would lean back in a chair and they were uncomfortable for him. He is a slim guy, so he does not have much 'padding' to cushion the hardware. He had it removed and it helped. I hope what ever you choose to do, you feel better!
Best of Luck,


Hi Josh,
Where do you live? I can recommend orthopedic surgeons here in Nevada. When did you get the surgery done as mobility does increase through time? I have rods due to scoliosis from T1-10 hardware as well.



I am a 35 yr old Mom of three beautiful children. I have had 4 Spine Surgeries since I was 14. The first 3 were for fusion of the spine. Last one was for hardware removal. Having had Orthopedic Surgeons and the Neurosurgeon, definitely go with the Neurosurgeon! Your back is made up of mostly nerves. When an Orthopedic Surgeon does back surgeries, they are not careful with the nerves, they hack away at the back and cause more problems and pain down the road. Neurosurgeons however, are a lot more careful, recovery time is greatly reduced because of this. I am surgically fused from T2-L4 in three different surgeries, 14 was first one then age 18 for another fusion surgery and then 23 for last surgery for fusion. Had all hardware out now for 9 yrs now and that was the best thing I have done yet for a surgery! The hardware, which I had 2 full length rods, then two short ones, some screws and the hooks, only serve the purpose of keeping the Spine as immobilized as possible during the first 3 Months after a fusion surgery. It takes 3 months for the fusion to take and there is a high percentage of patients that the fusion doesn't take. If it does then the body no longer needs the hardware. The longer the hardware is in, the more dependent your back muscles become on the hardware and the muscles are no longer used since the hardware is doing their job for them. This is never a good thing! Having hardware removed is not a common surgery. As long as it doesn't cause problems, most people choose to live with them. Mine caused problems. Removing them does not help to increase mobility of the spine. Due to spinal fusions, your back will always remain immobilized no matter having rods in or taken out. It does help to look more human instead of like Frankenstein as I like to call it. All who knew me before the hardware removal and after said it give me less of a rigid, more softer look to my shoulders and such. I am so sorry to not give you good news about having more mobility. Once fused, the spine will never be mobile. I know this for a fact, I have lived this way for 21 years now. Now L5, S1 and both SI joints are fusing on their own, have been for about 3 yrs now. Let me tell you that the pain from a surgical fusion and this, autofusion, is a living nightmare! I hate back surgeries! Too painful! I have up to 7 more years of this if left on its own and the risks are high for serious problems due to it. It is debilitating, very much so. I have a high pain tolerance and this is just the worst pain in my back I have ever had since it first started hurting when I was 5 yrs old! I am in a wheelchair at home. The only relief I get from the intensity of it is from Steroid Pills. There isn't very many of the pills but it helps so much. I will be getting an MRI done to see if another surgery will help me live life once again. No matter if I leave the autofusion alone or finish it surgically, I will be even more immobile due to the fusion. I am so sorry about your back! I feel for you. The pain is beyond my pain tolerance, Surgery should only be considered if the benefits out weigh the side effects. I am sorry to not tell you that after removal of hardware that it won't change your mobility, not at all, I know. I had mine in for over 12 yrs before removing it all. Everyone who sees all the hardware( I kept it, since I had it for almost half my age), tells me they cannot believe how much metal was in my back and that I could start a hardware store due to the crazy amount that was in me! I wish you the best of health and luck and I am so sorry for your pain and frustration, truly.


Hello, everyone! I'm sorry for not replying sooner. i thought this site would email me notifications. Anyway, thank you very much for all your advice. To answer some questions I live in Wisconsin and have had my first surgerey when I was 15 but my spine began to fall away from the hardware and I later had two other surgeries back to back to remove the old hardware and put new harware in. i believe my last two surgeries happened when I was 16. I know that it was shortly after my first surgery. Feel free to contact me at: akrightj@outlook.com