Hardware Failure After Back Surgery
Pain in the back, legs, and neck is often treated with spine surgery, and many different forms of spine surgery use hardware – man made objects, like screws, rods, cages, and more – to help support the spine, improve recovery, replace or augment discs and vertebrae, and otherwise assist in long term pain reduction.
Although this hardware has been thoroughly researched, and developed by some of the world’s leading scientists, it is still man-made, and like most manmade items, there is always a risk that the hardware could fail or break. If that happens, it can cause you to experience mild, medium, and sometimes even chronic pain.
Types of Spine Surgery Hardware and Instrumentation
Many different types of hardware are used in spine surgery, and thus there are many different scenarios for hardware failure. These include:
- Failed Pedicle Screws
- Failed Rods
- Failed Spinal Wires
- Failed Artificial Ligaments
- Failed Vertebral Cages
- Failed Artificial Discs
Hardware is considered to have “failed” any time it is responsible for the development of pain. That means that hardware can fail for many different reasons, including:
- Hardware breaking.
- Hardware not properly installed.
- Hardware causing a reaction in the body.
- Hardware becoming loose.
- Hardware that does not fit your spine.
It is also possible that the choice in hardware – and even the surgery itself – was not the right choice given your condition, or the cause of your pain.
Treatment for Hardware Failure
If you have pain after spine surgery (known as failed back surgery syndrome, or FBSS), it’s possible that hardware is that the hardware is to blame. In some cases, the hardware failure may be expected. Many forms of spinal fusion that use older versions of pedicle screws, for example, are at risk of loosening over time, leading to pain.
But there may not be any specific symptoms of hardware failure. That is why diagnosis requires an MRI or CT Scan, along with a careful analysis of previous surgery and patient history. Treatment may be simple hardware removal (generally a fast and easy procedure), or there may be other conditions that need a more thorough revision surgery.
Dr. Chappuis and his team at Spine Center Atlanta sees both local patients and national patients, and is considered one of the foremost experts in spinal hardware failure and post-laminectomy syndrome.
For those that have pain after back surgery, it helps to receive that expert diagnosis along with the appropriate treatment. Please call Spine Center Atlanta today at 404-620-5523 to get started.