Vertiflex procedure

Posted by kdurham @kdurham, Jul 16, 2022

It appears my dad may be having an allergic reaction to the titanium device implanted w the Vertiflex procedure. Are there any tx options other than removing the implant?

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Hello @kdurham, Welcome to Connect. This has to be quite unsettling for both you and your dad if it turns out to be an allergic reaction to the titanium in the implant device. I found an article from 2020 that talks about it being a rare systemic response and may describe what has happened.

— Rare Systemic Response to Titanium Spinal Fusion Implant: Case Report: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7100857/

@jenniferhunter may have some thoughts she can share with you on metal allergy and options other than removing the implant. You mentioned it appears that your dad may be having an allergic reaction. Have the doctors or surgeon done any testing for metal allergies?

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@johnbishop

Hello @kdurham, Welcome to Connect. This has to be quite unsettling for both you and your dad if it turns out to be an allergic reaction to the titanium in the implant device. I found an article from 2020 that talks about it being a rare systemic response and may describe what has happened.

— Rare Systemic Response to Titanium Spinal Fusion Implant: Case Report: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7100857/

@jenniferhunter may have some thoughts she can share with you on metal allergy and options other than removing the implant. You mentioned it appears that your dad may be having an allergic reaction. Have the doctors or surgeon done any testing for metal allergies?

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Not to my knowledge,no testing for allergies was done prior to the surgery. However, I'd assume it's probably not protocol to do so since such a small percentage of patients experience an allergy to the metal itself. I've also been researching the effects of long-term gabapentin use(he's been taking it for years) and seem to see some possible correlation there as well,with this and other symptoms he's experiencing. Hopefully the d/c of the gabapentin will tell us what we need to know. He's been tapering the dose for a couple weeks now. Also thanks for taking the time to talk w me /trying to help figure something out. My dad is just miserable, his whole body is covered with this 'irritation' so I'm thankful for any help in the right direction we can get

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@kdurham I have had problems with metals in my body causing an immune reaction. I did elect to have titanium hardware removed after I healed from an ankle fracture. It was causing pain, and warmth in the area. I had chronic hives for months, and this made my asthma worse. After removing the hardware, those issues resolved.

The field of medicine that may be able to help is Environmental Medicine. The practice that pioneered this field is the Environmental Health Center Dallas and the website is https://www.ehcd.com/. You can visit that website to look at the conditions they treat and for educational information. There is a provider search for other doctors in this field at https://www.aaemonline.org/.

Everything that activates the immune system adds up, and the doctor may also test for and treat any allergies to calm down the system, so an immune response to a surgical implant may be less burden to the body.

There is also a lab in Chicago that tests for allergies to implanted materials. They do blood tests and have you send in a sample that is kept warm in shipping to keep the blood cells alive. Their website is
https://www.orthopedicanalysis.com/
I know that I feel so much better now with all the metals removed from my body which was both dental work and the surgical hardware. I had old porcelain crowns that were made on metal bases removed and I replaced those teeth with ceramic Zirconium implants and zirconium bridgework. At that point I felt good, and my asthma improved, until I broke my ankle and became the owner of some titanium plates. So, for a bit over a year, my asthma was worse again until I had those plates removed last fall. The doctors don't connect my symptoms to the metal except for my environmental medicine doctor. I hope you'll find some useful information here that can help your dad. I am a spine surgery patient too, but I chose to have my C5/C6 fusion without hardware and had only a bone graft. Some years ago, I had developed skin reactions to metals in pierced earrings and had to give then up. That was my first clue that metals may be an issue for me.

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I had a Vertiflex procedure back in March this year L4/5. It has helped some maybe 25%
Now after 5 months I’m experiencing a pulling from my buttocks down the back of my legs.
Is really painful walking. Each morning the first thing I have to do take pain medication.
Has anyone else experienced this and if so, do you find anything to help it. Thanking you in advance for any suggestions or help.

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@ladeedi51

I had a Vertiflex procedure back in March this year L4/5. It has helped some maybe 25%
Now after 5 months I’m experiencing a pulling from my buttocks down the back of my legs.
Is really painful walking. Each morning the first thing I have to do take pain medication.
Has anyone else experienced this and if so, do you find anything to help it. Thanking you in advance for any suggestions or help.

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Hello @ladeedi51. Sorry to hear that you are having some additional pain at this point.

You will notice that I have moved your post into an existing discussion on the Vertiflex procedure that you can find here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/vertiflex-procedure/

Members @kdurham and @jenniferhunter have both shared in this discussion and may be able to come back and add their thoughts.

I am wondering if you had stretching as part of your post-op recovery and, if so, if that is something you have continued or are doing?

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Thank you Amanda for responding and also moving me to Vertiflex discussion board.
I have been going to PT since May. Doing a lot of stretching at that time. Now I have only been going for deep tissue massage for the problem I mentioned but it hasn’t helped. In answer to your question – I have not been doing my exercises & stretches the way I should be. Not in a consistent basis. Maybe I should try doing them again.

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@ladeedi51

I had a Vertiflex procedure back in March this year L4/5. It has helped some maybe 25%
Now after 5 months I’m experiencing a pulling from my buttocks down the back of my legs.
Is really painful walking. Each morning the first thing I have to do take pain medication.
Has anyone else experienced this and if so, do you find anything to help it. Thanking you in advance for any suggestions or help.

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I had 2 Vertiflex procedures about a year ago. Some temporary relief for a few weeks, then downhill from there. Prior to the implants, I was in pain but mobile and active. Since the implants, I have been in considerable NEW pain for a year and essentially a virtual cripple. I finally went to an actual spine surgeon. He reviewed the original MRI I had before the procedures. He quickly determined that I have "spinal canal stenosis" (there are 3 types) for which the Veriflex implants are ineffective. The Doctor that performed the implants was an anesthesiologist, not a spine specialist, which apparently is the case with many of the doctors that perform that procedure. Basically, I was originally misdiagnosed. Suggest you get a second opinion.

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Just had Vertiflex. Lots of pain going from a sitting to standing position and more pain as I sit down again. Cannot stand for more than 2 minutes. Lots of gastro issues though it is only been 3 days since my surgery. Did anyone else have these issues? Nausea and loose stools and a sore incision site? Not on any pain meds, took one Norco and was overcome with nausea and stomach pain.

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I've been dealing with Lumbar spinal stenosis for 3 years and can't decide on which procedure to have: Vertiflex or Laminectomy? I've tried all the other alternatives

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