Removal of plate and screws from tibia fracture

Posted by tc125 @tc125, Oct 30, 2018

Hello, I broke my tibia in April 2018 and had surgery to insert a plate and 9 screws. I have pain walking every day all day. The surgeon has recommended having the plate/screws removed. I am reluctant to do it because the surgeon said he can't guarantee the pain will be gone. I'm not sure if it would be worth it to have incisions, remove screws, slide the plate out, have anesthesia and get stitched back up. I was wondering if anyone has experienced this type of surgery and if so, was it worth it.

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@bernese53

Hi,

I broke my fibula when I was five months pregnant. It was a spiral fracture so I needed surgery to reduce the fracrure by having a plate and pins. After my daughter was born, the swelling went down but I was still experiencing pain. The orthopedist removed the hardwarea year later and the pain disappeared. Good luck to you.

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Hi, That is good to hear. Since my last post, I did have the hardware and screws removed. I am happy to say that pain is gone. I had my surgery 2 weeks ago to remove the hardware so I am feeling the affects of that. I hope it doesn't last long.

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@sportsgirl2330

Hello,
I had a PAO with a femoral derotation on both legs. I have 18 screws and a plate all together. After I finished with my rehab i still had some pain. I decided to remove the screws in my pelvis and the pain went away. I left the screws and plate in my femur because i dont want them to go through all those muscles. If it is giving you a lot of pain it might be worth it but it is a tough call. It did work for me though.

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Hello, Thanks for your response. I did have the hardware/screws removed. The pain I had is gone but now just have to deal with the after surgery conditions. I'm glad your surgery went well.

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@quiteachiver75

I DID HAVE A PLATE AND SCREWS REMOVED FROM A FRACTURE ON MY UPPER RIGHT 🦵 LEG BECAUSE OF PAIN. IT WORKED FOR ME.TERESA

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That is great to hear. Glad it worked for you. I had mine removed two weeks ago and the pain is gone. Just have to recover from this surgery. Two surgeries in 1 year is enough for me.

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@suemofl

Today marks one year since my fracture occurred. I had fixation surgery with a plate and seven screws. 3 months ago I had the hardware removed due to screws rubbing on tendons. I still save pain everyday. My knee feels like it wants to explode. I am currently on my second round of six week PT. Very discouraged. Anyone have these problems?

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Hello, I'm sorry to hear that you still have pain. I know what that feels like. I've had pain every day all day for one year since the plate and screws were put in. I've since had that removed and have other pains I'm dealing with. I just wish I could be pain free but I don't know if that is going to happen. Hang in there.

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Tibia plateau fracture on July 9th 2018 with compartment syndrome and infection. 31 days in the hospital and 9 surgeries. Cause by full dresser motorcycle going over. Been living with 2 large plates and numerous screws. I still have knee pain and I am so tired of feeling like I am 80. I was outside trying to mow the lawn today and got 80% done and felt like I was going to collapse. it’s stiff in the morning and by night it’s usually soar. I still use ice around it still a year later about every other day. Crossing my leg while sitting is very stiff and can be painful at times. I don’t know if it’s the hardware or the leg itself. Not sure what to do. Just really tired of not being able to walk a long distance or even mowing my lawn.

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I happened upon this site looking for others that have experienced what I am experiencing. On June 17 of this year I fell and broke my tibia. Had two surgeries,
external and internal fixation with Plate and 8 screws. It’s been six months and I am in pain every day. I have what looks like a screw protruding out my leg. I go back to my doctor this week for consult and X-rays. The thought of another surgery is very discouraging and I don’t even know If removal is an option yet but I wanted to see how long your recovery was with the removal and if you are still doing well. Thanks so much for sharing.

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I fractured my femur in January 2013 and had a 9 inch plate and 11 screws inserted. The bottom two screws went into an artificial knee. The hardware was removed in October 2018 and the results have been great. My pain is much lower and my balance is better. Previously I had pain almost immediately when just standing (vs. walking) but now I can stand as well as walk.
Apparently the 'I Band' was frequently getting little tears as it moved over the hardware. I was experiencing episodes where I lost strength and range of motion. That hasn't happened since the hardware was removed. The actually surgery was a breeze, especially compared to having a knee replaced and the surgery to deal with the fractured femur. I was home for lunch and recovery was uneventful.

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@cgavin61

I happened upon this site looking for others that have experienced what I am experiencing. On June 17 of this year I fell and broke my tibia. Had two surgeries,
external and internal fixation with Plate and 8 screws. It’s been six months and I am in pain every day. I have what looks like a screw protruding out my leg. I go back to my doctor this week for consult and X-rays. The thought of another surgery is very discouraging and I don’t even know If removal is an option yet but I wanted to see how long your recovery was with the removal and if you are still doing well. Thanks so much for sharing.

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I had Tib Fib Surgery on my Upper Thigh. I fell 4 feet and just killed I. This was on Nov 11. I've seen my surgeon Twice. I'm getting ready to start 45 lb weight bearing on Tuesday.

The edge of the plate is bulging out and is unnerving. It wasn't bothering I think it just freaks me out.

Good luck, please keep us posted.

Susie

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Thanks everyone! Update: I went back to my doctor and X-rays were done. My break has healed well and he said the plate and screws could come out. Turns out I have 15 screws not 8. There are 9 in my ankle alone. I have surgery on Feb 19 and was told that I would go straight into a walking boot for about a 3 week recovery time. The downside is I was told I more than likely will eventually have to have an ankle replacement. I’m praying that is not the case. I’ll give an update after surgery and recovery.

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I had a comminuted spiral fracture of the right tibia/fibula back in 2005. It damaged my tendons and muscles in my lower leg and I suffered nerve damage when they cut a significant nerve branch along the front of my leg near the ankle. I have lived in pain every day since then, I am in a pain management program (which now with the opioid crisis is a nightmare) and I am talking with the pain management doctor about possibly removing the plates. I have two – a twelve inch plate on the tibia and a 6 inch plate on the fibula with a 4 inch piece of cadaver bone to replace the bones that were too badly damaged to be repaired.

I never thought about having them removed because I thought insurance wouldn't cover it. The cautionary tale on this is that my leg would be as if I just broke it again with the holes through the bones,etc. What are the percentages for someone like me to have the pain reduced or gone so I am not taking opioids? Is it worth the 3 months of down time (guestimate based on the recovery from before)? I know the nerve damage is permanent but that's the least of my issues. Has anyone had their insurance company fight the surgery?

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A lot of you know me from other discussions on Connect, and I'm joining you here because in a recent injury, I dislocated and broke my ankle, both the tibia in 3 places, and the fibula which was open and broken through the skin. The first surgical procedure placed external fixation with 2 pins that were screwed into the front of my shin (tibia) and 1 pin that passed transversely through my heel bone with external rods that connected it all together with a frame. That was a difficult thing to live with, and the external fixation was recently removed in a surgery at Mayo. Now I have 2 small titanium plates screwed on my tibia, and a screw placed internally into the fibula. I am still in my first splint/cast and on my next visit will have the stitches removed. I am at the beginning of what will be a long journey in recovery. With all the incisions and wounds, no matter which way I turn my leg, the cast will rest on a tender spot. This has been very painful, and I don't do well on pain medicine, but I have reached a tolerance level for pain and weaned off the pain medicine in the last several days. On my X rays, I see the holes left by the pins that had pierced my bones, and I know my body will heal these and fill in the bone. I've learned what is is to be disabled and have to think about how I can get from one place to another which is difficult. At least now, I don't have the immediate pain from lowering my leg out of an elevated position when I need to hobble around with the walker. I've learned to slow down and rest. When I need to stand at the sink, it helps me to have a canvas folding stool, so I can put my knee into it and be balanced against the normal leg. I also have added some webbing straps to a walker, so I can use my knee in the same way and take some pressure off my arms and hands. It helps to be a patient person, and there is no other choice because all I can do is wait for my body to heal and do my best to help that happen.

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@jenniferhunter

A lot of you know me from other discussions on Connect, and I'm joining you here because in a recent injury, I dislocated and broke my ankle, both the tibia in 3 places, and the fibula which was open and broken through the skin. The first surgical procedure placed external fixation with 2 pins that were screwed into the front of my shin (tibia) and 1 pin that passed transversely through my heel bone with external rods that connected it all together with a frame. That was a difficult thing to live with, and the external fixation was recently removed in a surgery at Mayo. Now I have 2 small titanium plates screwed on my tibia, and a screw placed internally into the fibula. I am still in my first splint/cast and on my next visit will have the stitches removed. I am at the beginning of what will be a long journey in recovery. With all the incisions and wounds, no matter which way I turn my leg, the cast will rest on a tender spot. This has been very painful, and I don't do well on pain medicine, but I have reached a tolerance level for pain and weaned off the pain medicine in the last several days. On my X rays, I see the holes left by the pins that had pierced my bones, and I know my body will heal these and fill in the bone. I've learned what is is to be disabled and have to think about how I can get from one place to another which is difficult. At least now, I don't have the immediate pain from lowering my leg out of an elevated position when I need to hobble around with the walker. I've learned to slow down and rest. When I need to stand at the sink, it helps me to have a canvas folding stool, so I can put my knee into it and be balanced against the normal leg. I also have added some webbing straps to a walker, so I can use my knee in the same way and take some pressure off my arms and hands. It helps to be a patient person, and there is no other choice because all I can do is wait for my body to heal and do my best to help that happen.

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Hello @jenniferhunter

I appreciate your post on two levels. The first is an update on your injury and surgeries, but also sharing with us your philosophy about patience.

You have really found accommodations for your current physical injuries. I find it especially interesting that you, "added some webbing straps to a walker, so I can use my knee in the same way and take some pressure off my arms and hands." I'm trying to picture this. Can you provide a few more details as to where the webbing straps are attached to the walker?

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