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Hardware Removal!

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  • Hardware Removal!

    I am so incredibly excited! I had an ortho appointment yesterday, and he finally let me schedule my hardware removal surgery. My surgery is May 17, just shy of one year after the accident (accident was May 20, hardware put in May 21). I have a rod in my tibia and a total of 6 screws in there. Hopefully the ortho will be able to get the rod out; he said that sometimes they get stuck. But the fact that it's new is on my side, because the bone will be less likely to have grown into/around it. He thinks the screws are causing most of my pain, but he'll try to take it all out since he's going in.

    (If you missed the whole story, last May I took my mare out for a gallop. I had put my feet further into the stirrups for balance, and when we got near the end of the path I started asking her to slow, but instead she turned left a bit. I fell off the right side, but my left leg got stuck in the stirrup and my leg snapped over the saddle. I also tore the ACL in my right leg, and that was fixed in late July.)

    This has been a very long and stressful year. Finally, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I can't wait to be able to move without pain. Walking, standing, going up and down stairs, riding.. everything hurts. In less than 6 weeks, the hardware will be out and life can go on!

    Has anyone had leg hardware removed? I'm a little stupid and forgot to ask my ortho how long I'll be down for, lol. Tips, advice, anything?
    Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
    Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
    VW sucks.

  • #2
    No tips, no advice, but I sure hope it goes well and does what it's supposed to do. I'm walking about with 9 screws and 2 plates just above my elbow joint, and 2 screws in my ankle. Fortunatley they do not cause problems, so I've left them in. Can't afford to take them out anyway!

    Here's to a quick recovery!!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      I would like to get rid of my hardware but the doctor said 6 weeks NWB. And last time that became 11. Are you going to have similar restrictions?
      I wasn't always a Smurf
      Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

      Comment


      • #4
        I had two plates and 6 screws out of my tibia plateau and had no issues at all. Didn't use the crutches at all.
        www.ncsporthorse.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Not leg hardware, but last year I had lots of hardware removed from my elbow (11 months after the first surgery). Six inch screw, two plates, smaller screws, k-wire, and a bunch of pins. They did it with a nerve block and twilight anesthesia (as opposed to general). Was in and out in a few hours, moving it within a couple of days, and back to complete normal activity by 6 weeks (but could do quite a bit before 6 weeks).

          I realize there are always exceptions, but I was reluctant to believe everyone (Doc, PT, etc) when they said hardware removal is usually not that big a deal. They were right, and I am very glad I did it.

          Hope all goes well!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Yay for hardware removal! I had 14 screws and a plate removed from my ankle one year following the initial surgery (trimalleolar fractures from a waverunner incident). With the initial breaks/surgery, I was 11 weeks of no weight bearing. With the hardware removal, I had no weight bearing restrictions. I did use crutches for a few days as it was more comfortable. After the first few days, I got around just fine with my walking boot. I had 2 good sized incisions (one 5 in, one 6 in), so wound healing was definitely a big part of recovery. You will of course have to deal with a lot of swelling, but if your like me, ice had already become my friend from the first time around. Pain wasn't a huge issue for me, but I tend to have a very high pain tolerance. It's not pain free by any means, but just not nearly as bad as the first time around. I think I went into work for a meeting 2 days after...though i was on crutches and lortab. You do need to be careful for 6 weeks, as you do have a sort of broken bone where the hardware left holes. Your doctor will of course give you further instruction on that. I had 11 screws within about 5 inches, so my holes were pretty concentrated!


            I noticed a difference in my joint immediately. It's been a little over a year and a half since my hardware removal. My scars are still a bit tender, and my ankle swells after exercise. I have not one once of regret! Hope it goes well

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by amastrike View Post
              Has anyone had leg hardware removed? I'm a little stupid and forgot to ask my ortho how long I'll be down for, lol. Tips, advice, anything?
              I've broken both ankles at different times, had hardware in both that ended up being painful, and had both removed. The older one was a plate and 8 screws ten years ago, and the newer one a rod and pin a year and a half ago.

              The removal is so easy, it's hard to remember details about it! I looked at my calendar from the latest one, and I took my cat to the vet the following day, met with my CPA 4 days later. I was half-leasing a horse then, I don't think I missed any riding days!

              You will be so happy the hardware is out!

              Comment


              • #8
                WOW, got to wonder why my ortho said 6 weeks NWB. Maybe because it's been 6 years?
                I wasn't always a Smurf
                Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Good luck with it! I know a couple people who've had hardware removed and it wasn't a huge deal, and they felt much better afterward. Me, I get to keep mine (left collarbone, 5 inch plate) forever, because of the nature of the break and "older bones."
                  You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                  1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Carol, how much hardware did you have out? Maybe if you had a lot of screws you're NWB longer so the bone has time to fill in.

                    Thanks for the input, guys . I'm enjoying being able to ride while I can (3 days in a row so far! Woohoo!!), since I'm planning on at least about 2 weeks of no riding. I watched a video on youtube of a tibial rod being removed . Thank goodness for anesthesia! It sounds like the pain and downtime aren't too bad. Really, though, the hardware is enough of a constant annoyance that even if it is pretty painful for a few days, it'll be more than worth it in the long run.
                    Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                    Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                    VW sucks.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by amastrike View Post
                      Carol, how much hardware did you have out? Maybe if you had a lot of screws you're NWB longer so the bone has time to fill in.

                      .
                      Don't really know how many screws in the fib, 4-6 I guess. The plate is over 3 inches long. It might also be as Quietann says "older bones" I haven't had it out, can't ask family to do my chores for that long
                      I wasn't always a Smurf
                      Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I'm WB as tolerated . Doesn't hurt anywhere near as much as I thought it would. My only restriction is not doing anything that really hurts. Once the incisions heal, I'm good to go.
                        Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                        Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                        VW sucks.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Tomorrow is 3 weeks post-surgery and it's great! I rode for real for the first time on Friday and rode two horses yesterday. Wow! I can POST! And it doesn't hurt! Mounting and dismounting are easier and I feel safer. The knee bothers me going up stairs, have to ask the ortho about that. Maybe it's just residual trauma from having the rod dug out of the top of my tibia..

                          And the best part is....

                          I cantered my mare yesterday! She's the one I fell off and broke the leg, so it was a Really Big Deal to get up the courage to canter. We only went a few strides, but that's okay. I cantered her .
                          Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                          Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                          VW sucks.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sounds great for you.

                            Glad that is solving your problems.

                            Hope your knee will be ok also with a bit more time.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I had a compound tibia. Got a rod in the tibia, and a screw at the ankle and at the top of my tibia. I was ULTRA excited to get the screws out, no pain, easy to have done.

                              However, my rod is still in my tibia. No reason for it to come out. But since yours has been a year it may be ok.

                              I never feel the rod ever. I always joke if I get burned or killed somehow, this will help identify me!!

                              I did go a couple years ago to ask about it, and the ortho said no. There will be more damage to get it out. The knee cap will have to be once again, moved to the side, and the rod yanked out. Also the bone grows around it, so I was ok with leaving it in.

                              I am happy to report though, I am totally screwless. Couple bandaids, little ice if need be, take it easy a couple days, OUT PATIENT SURGERY, and I was good to go. I could walk just fine out of the hospital.

                              I would get a couple opinions on why the rod should or should not come out.

                              I had mine "broken" in summer of 02. Had screws removed 6 months later. Oh those things hurt, and after they were out, all better. This was a horrible period of my life, I wouldn't want to risk having the rod out to have this pain come back all over again. It took me many months before I could walk. Relearn to walk.

                              Get unscrewed, is my suggestion.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                amastrike, what a wonderful update! Thanks so much for sharing.
                                www.specialhorses.org
                                a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I've got a plate and 7 screws on my right ulna from getting kicked in 2003. Been there since then, and I've wanted them out since then, but haven't had the money or the time it will take to recuperate. Some day I will have them taken out, darn thing bugs me to no end.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by mypaintwattie View Post
                                    I've got a plate and 7 screws on my right ulna from getting kicked in 2003. Been there since then, and I've wanted them out since then, but haven't had the money or the time it will take to recuperate. Some day I will have them taken out, darn thing bugs me to no end.
                                    Hope you find the time and funds one day! I am so incredibly happy I got mine out (didn't really have much of a choice as one plate was starting to 'catch' on stuff and I couldn't straighten my arm ). Healing time was not what I expected, in a good way- I knew I couldn't ride for 6 weeks, but after about two I was basically back to normal (doc said "just don't go moving any furniture" for another couple of weeks ). I picked right after New Year's in January to do it when I knew it was a good time to chill (and not feel guilty about not riding ).

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Just a word of caution here, you have to remember there is a risk of re-fracture (usually through the screw holes) for up to a year after surgery! The bone slowly strengthens (surprisingly, the holes do not always go away but the bone strengthens around them after the screw is removed) and that takes up to a year. (research has shown this, I am an ortho doc)

                                      The risk is higher for certain hardware (hip screws, radius and ulna plates especially in children.....) but it can happen anywhere. I had a patient fracture through a screw hole in her metatarsal (foot) after we removed a screw. I allowed her to weight bear after surgery, but recommended no impact activity for three months. She went back to areobics at 6 weeks= fracture.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by mickeydoodle View Post
                                        Just a word of caution here, you have to remember there is a risk of re-fracture (usually through the screw holes) for up to a year after surgery! The bone slowly strengthens (surprisingly, the holes do not always go away but the bone strengthens around them after the screw is removed) and that takes up to a year. (research has shown this, I am an ortho doc)

                                        The risk is higher for certain hardware (hip screws, radius and ulna plates especially in children.....) but it can happen anywhere. I had a patient fracture through a screw hole in her metatarsal (foot) after we removed a screw. I allowed her to weight bear after surgery, but recommended no impact activity for three months. She went back to areobics at 6 weeks= fracture.
                                        Probably the reason my ortho said NWB for at least 6 weeks. He knows me to well
                                        I wasn't always a Smurf
                                        Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                                        "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                        The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                                        Comment

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