Metalwork removal?

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Had pilon fracture end of August 2015. 2 plates and 12 screws. Ankle has always been sore but about 3 months ago got really bad pains just above my ankle bone. They are not there all the time, maybe 3 days out of 7 and causeSorry a lump to stick out of ankle and very painful to touch. Back to orthopedic clinic who put me back in walking boot for a month but didn't help. Had bloods taken and CT scan to check for infection but there is none. Doc this morning suggested removing the metalwork but said there's no guarantee it will help with the pain. Said that the fracture is totally healed, but there is some cartilage deterioration which would probably lead to arthritis. Has anybody been in a similar situation and had the metalwork removed and if so did it help? I've said I'd rather wait to see if it settles down and hopefully go away but have an appointment in 8 weeks and to let them know what I want to do then.

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  • Posted

    It's just so hard to know. I have tried to read a lot about hardware removal. It seems most people are happy they did it, when I read about it, but of course it is difficult to face another operation and there are always risks of new problems. And perhaps I'm not reading info from those who are unhappy. I hope someone out there has an answer for you. I've always been quite interested in this subject. My OS said some surgeons automatically take all metalwork out, but he's in the camp of thinking that only if it is bothering you, you should take it out. I asked him what percentage of those he gets and he said 50%, which seemed way high to me. I surmise from that, that a lot of people feel they want the hardware out and must feel it is impeding their recovery.
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    • Posted

      Really don't know what to do for the best. I was quite happy to leave them in but the pain is awful and I always seem to be popping painkillers which only take the edge off it. Think I'm clutching at straws hoping that it will go away in the next 8 weeks but it'll give me time to do a bit of research and make my decision. Thanks for replying 🙂
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  • Posted

    Hi Bailey, I can't say much as I have no problem with my hardware. I know a guy who had his removed, because he couldn't wear shoe's due to the hardware. He is happy he did it and has no problems. Having the hardware removed is apparently not as bad as putting it in and you can go on as normal, only have to look after the surgical incisions until it heals. I also know of someone who was doing well, except for pain, and could not be without pain meds. The surgeons eventually discovered one of the screws was too long and that was causing the problem. I hope you find a answer soon.
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  • Posted

    I had to have all of my screws removed after my ankle was fussed. It helpef a lot when they came out.
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  • Posted

    I am 8 1/2 months post op and had my hardware removed Thursday.  I was walking, but still had pain and stiffness.  I had a hard time making the decision.  It's only been 3 days so I don't know how much better it will feel.  Post op I woke up much easier than the first time.  There is pain, but much less.  The first 2 days I had pain.  I can't take narcotics so it may be easier for most.  The doctor told me to wear the boot for 2 weeks while up.  I wore it for 2 days with crutches, today wore it outside, no crutches. I feel that I'm moving forward quickly.  I will post in a while to let people know how that goes.  I took the bandage off today.  The incision looks great, no redness, no swelling (not like the first time).  It's easier knowing how to adjust, how to use crutches, take a a bath without getting the incision wet, still had wheelchair and bedside commode, use of ice and ace bandage for swelling, family trained to help, no need for non weight bearing.  As long as there is improvement it will be worth it.  I can't see wearing the boot for 2 weeks, but I understand it takes 6 weeks to fill in the bone.  I also have been taking homeopathics, arnica and symphytum.  
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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for posting this Linda! How many screws and plates did you have removed?  I have 13 screws and a plate (almost 18 weeks out) and my inclination is to get them out. I hear people complain they bug them years later, and I am afraid if I don't do it before a year out from ORIF, one can pass a window of time that is best for removal. Do you have any information on that by chance as well? Thank you so much!!
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    • Posted

      Hi Patti,

      I had a plate and 3 screws for a fractured fibula.  The plate curved aroung the bottom of the fibula and had 2 sharp ends.  I read that if you wait too long it's harder to remove the hardware, but my doctor didn't seem to think this.  I couldn't wear even a tennis shoe because it rubbed on the plate. I wasn't going to be able wear a boot.  I live in an area that snows and has ice in the winter and wearing clogs and sandels all year is not an option.   I'm 5 days post op from the removal and I seem to be doing pretty good.  They told me to wear "that" boot, but I'm not wearing it in the house.  I'm not taking anything but Tylenol for pain today.  I dreaded doing the surgery, but it was not that bad.  I still have some pain and I can't tell yet how well it worked, but I have hope that it is going to be worth it.  I am wondering why they want this boot on for 2 weeks.  I was able to stand in the shower today.  I haven't driven, but I think that I can.  My husband is over protective.  I'm not using the crutchess at all.  I went to Costco today, but did use their electric cart.  How many weeks are you?  They had told me I  could get the hardware out at 8 months.  It seems important to get your calf muscle strong before the surgery.  Stationary bike and the pool have been helpful.  Good luck.  I will post again to tell people how it went.  

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    • Posted

      Thank you very much Linda for all that great information. There hasn't been a lot of this kind of info posted, and I really appreciate it. I am about 18 weeks out now. Thanks for the great advice re. the bike and swimming too!!
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