Can Spinal Hardware Make Noise?

Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 12, 2015

spinal hardwareWe have talked about spine surgery hardware in a few previous, blog, posts. Recently we had a reader ask whether hardware can make squeaking, clicking, or popping noises after surgery. In this article, we’re going to answer this question and discuss if and when spine hardware can make noise and when you should be concerned about it.

Can Spine Hardware Make Noise?

The most likely cause of a squeaking, clicking, or popping sound in the body after a spine surgery is spinal hardware. Hardware (whether it be rods, screws, plates, or something else) is a foreign object in your body. As a result it can take a little while for your body to get used to the hardware.

During surgery the hardware is affixed securely, but other surrounding structures (tissue, vertebra, etc.) can potentially rub against the hardware and cause sound. Patients often report squeaking, creaking, clicking, popping, or cracking sounds from the location of the hardware when they move their body. These sounds may go away given enough time, or they may never resolve. Thankfully, these noises are usually nothing more than annoying.

Noises in the spine can also be caused by several other factors. Severely degenerative discs, arthritic joints, bone spurs, and scar tissue can all result in various sounds that emanate from the back while the patient moves around post-op.

When to see your Spine Surgeon

Typically these squeaking, creaking, or clicking sounds will dissipate and disappear soon after your procedure. If the sounds get worse, or they are accompanied by pain, there may be another underlying cause that needs to be addressed. You should also make an appointment with your physician if you have not had surgery and you are hearing noises when you move your back. These could signify a degenerative condition that may require preventative treatment.

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