What Hardware Will Be Used During Spine Surgery?

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 22, 2018

Spine surgery can help to relieve your pain, but sometimes more needs to be done during the operation than freeing a compressed nerve or removing part of a damaged disc. In some cases, the surgeon has to insert some hardware in order to stabilize the spinal column and prevent future problems. But what type of instrumentation might be inserted into your spine during surgery? We take a closer look at spinal hardware in today’s blog.

Types of Sinal Instrumentation

Spinal instrumentation comes in many different shapes and sizes, and they all provide different essential functions. Some common hardware that your surgeon may insert depending on your specific surgery include:

  • Plates
  • Screws
  • Rods
  • Wires
  • Artificial Discs
  • Bone Grafts

All of these instruments provide different specific functions inside your body, whether they keep the disc in place or ensure spacing between to vertebrae, but they all serve the main underlying function, which is to stabilize your spine. Stabilizing the spine keeps everything in its correct location, which helps prevent against pain from compression or friction.

Questions About Spinal Hardware

When people are told that we’re going to be inserting some hardware during surgery, patients usually have a number of questions. The most common question people ask is if they’ll need a second surgery to remove or replace the hardware. In most cases, a subsequent surgery is not needed. Today’s hardware is made out of durable titanium, so it’s unlikely it will wear down. Surgeons also are careful to insert hardware with precision and with care so that nothing shifts after the surgery is complete, so most people don’t need a subsequent operation.

Another question we’ve been asked is if the instrumentation will set off metal detectors when you enter a sporting game or an airport terminal. A lot of the newest hardware is made out of synthetic materials that will not set off any metal detectors. You can ask your surgeon for the specific components of your hardware, but you probably won’t be setting off any buzzers.

One final question people ask is if they’ll be able to feel the hardware in their back. Some people who have screws or plates inserted into their feet after an injury say that they can feel the hardware, but that’s usually not the case with your spine. The vast majority of people cannot tell that they have hardware in their spine, and even if they can, they usually prefer that sensation to the pain sensations associated with an unstable spine.

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