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Spinal Hardware Removal


Spinal hardware removal surgery is used to remove the hardware used in a previous spinal surgery. There are a few reasons why your surgeon might recommend spinal fusion hardware removal, such as if the hardware on your spine is causing pain by irritating nearby nerves or tendons, or if you’ve developed an infection.

Unless there is a problem with the hardware or its placement, hardware used during spine surgery doesn’t need to be removed and, in most cases, causes no problems.

Back Pain Centers of America has helped more than 30,000 people using minimally invasive back pain treatments. Call us at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] to learn more about your options so you can stop living with back pain. Our board-certified surgeons are ready to help you get the treatment you need.

Going for a walk after regaining mobility following spinal hardware removal


Spinal fusion hardware removal is only beneficial or necessary if your spinal fusion has failed, if you have an infection, or if you’re experiencing symptoms because of misplaced or broken hardware. Undergoing this type of surgery can help relieve pain and allows the surgeon the opportunity to correct any issues, such as putting in new hardware so that your fusion is successful.

Conditions and Symptoms Treated

Spinal fusion hardware removal is used to treat a failed fusion. Spinal hardware removal is also used to treat:

  • Infection
  • Pain from broken hardware
  • Prominent or misplaced hardware


You will be provided with specific instructions to follow in preparation for your spinal fusion hardware removal. Part of your preparation may require you to:

  • Stop smoking – Smoking can interfere with your spinal hardware removal recovery time and slow your healing. You will be asked to stop smoking for some time before and after surgery.
  • Stop taking certain medications – Some medications and supplements increase the risk of bleeding and need to be avoided before surgery. You will be told which of these to stop taking and for how long.
  • Fast for 6-12 hours – You need to fast before surgery and will be told exactly how long before the procedure you need to stop eating and drinking.
  • Arrange a ride – You will not be able to drive after your spinal hardware removal surgery. Arrange to have someone drop you off and pick you up.

The Procedure

During your spinal fusion hardware removal, the surgeon will access your spine by reopening the original incision. Any scar tissue that has grown over the hardware will be removed. If your spine has fused properly, the surgeon will only remove the hardware. If your spine fusion was not successful, the surgeon may also use this opportunity to put in new hardware, avoiding spinal fusion surgery later.

After the procedure is complete and your incision is closed and dressed, you will be moved to a recovery room to be monitored for a few hours.


Spinal hardware removal recovery time varies from person to person, and you will be told by your surgeon when you can safely return to work and other activities. You will be given medication to help manage pain. Applying cold to the site of your spinal hardware removal can also help alleviate pain.

Following your doctor’s post-surgical instructions, even if you are feeling better, is recommended. Failing to do so could interfere with your spinal hardware recovery time by increasing your risk of injury.

Don’t delay relief. Help is just a call away! Call us at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] so we can match you with a board-certified specialist today who can provide you with the expert care you deserve. The call is simple and won’t cost you a thing. It could be the most important call you ever make!

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