Metalware taken out six weeks post op...anyone else had this done?

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Hi, me again.....six week post ORIF for Trimalleolar and ligament dislocation (after argument with bumble bee!).

From the start I have had issue with wound not healing and head of one screws visible , they hoped it would heal. But at six week post op review yesterday, consultant decided it wasn't going to heal with the plate and screws and wound was colonised, opening further so .... Have been back into surgery today (he was very concerned of infection tracking into the bone).

he has removed the plate on the lateral side and five screws (remaining metal staying put).

So....... My question is.... Has anyone else had metal ware out so early into healing process? Any issues with healing? Etc etc. from reading this forum majority appear to have (if they need) hardware out after 6 to 12 months?

I am in a back slab cast and continued NWB for two weeks till review and all being well into a boot ( oh I'm dreaming of a boot as its means partial weight bearing and then full).

sorry to whittle on and on, but appreciate any other expericiences etc

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  • Posted

    Yes.  With my first set of hardware I got an infection (and yes, deep into the bone, about the distal 75 mm being one big pocket of osteomyelitis).

    First we tried a PICC line for daily antibiotic infusions and later 2 oral antibiotics were added to the mix.  They also had me going to a hyperbaric clinic for specific wound treatment services.  That went on for several months and I had the PICC line removed and discontinued the orals, and within a week the infection was pretty bad again.

    At that point the surgeon, wound care doc, and infectious diseases doc (hey, 3 specialists a week for months on end!) decided that the bacteria were being harbored by the hardware, e.g., under the edges of the screw heads or under the plates, where the antibiotic couldn't reach, so with the hardware in we could control it but not kill it.

    So out came the hardware, folllowed by another several months one a new PICC line, oral antibiotics, and two more months of hyperbaric treatment.  Then two months off all treatments to see if I was infection-free.

    Luckily I was infection-free.  But in my particular case (shattered ankle vs. tendon repair), by this time it was becoming apparent my bones were not going to heal well so we went with total fixation of the ankle and bone grafts to replace the big lot of tibia missing by now (looked like a hollow shell, except only the anterior portion of the bone was present - the rear was completely missing for the last ~ 80 mm by now).

    Several years later I'm pretty happy with it.  I can walk normally enough that people who don't know me well don't know I'm absent an ankle (I have "rocker bottom" dress shoes made up and regular running shoes have enough arc in the sole to serve the same purpose).  Very little pain lingering on.

    Note I don't suggest you'll need anything so extreme.  I just started off to explain "It happens" to your specific question and then started rambling on myself!

    • Posted

      Oops, sorry - somehow I saw you wrote "tendon disclocation" but missed  the part about trimalleolar break.  

  • Posted

    Hi Hazel,

    I am getting my hardware removal at the end of June, which will be over 6 months of op. I choose the date, not the surgeon. The surgeon actually gave me the choice to remove the hardware in the 4th month, when I saw him the first time on the 3rd month of op. He didn't think 3 - 4 months is too early. I am not sure about six weeks. However, if you have infections, I don't think you have much choice. You just have to do it anyway.

    Wish you speedy recovery!


    • Posted

      Thank you Helen, I wouldn't have choosen this early on but didn't have a choice. It's absolutely killing today, thought it wouldn't be so bad, but probably due to the previous scar not having healed and raw. Hopefully in two weeks when get out of this back slab all will be healing as it should and I can get in a boot. Why are you having your metal ware out ? X

  • Posted

    Dear Hazel,

    I too was starting to use the boot with 13 pieces of metal on me. It hurt like hell but I was trying. I was in nursing homes 3 times because it got infected. Finally the doctor realized all that metal may be causing the infections so he removed it all and put a cast on. The cast was inconvenient but i could put more weight on it. But my leg was swelling up so bad that the cast created a wound at the top where it rubbed. So, yet another operation, he took the cast off and put one plate in so my foot heals straight. But I swear every piece off metal digs inside me like a roto rooter! But he says he hadn't planned on taking this one out, ever!! I'm not even able to use a walker now. I have to use a wheelchair. I use cabs to go to doctor visits because i need help getting out of my house. I've got to find an answer to this. I hope you do better than me.


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