What you should know
Hardware removal is surgery to take out devices used to hold your broken bones together while they heal. These devices may include pins, screws, plates, or wires. You may need hardware removed because you have pain or an infection. You may develop an allergy to the device. Hardware in young children may need to be removed to prevent problems with bone growth.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. You may be allergic to the anesthesia medicine. Nerves, ligaments, and muscles may be damaged. Your bone may fracture again while the hardware is being removed. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.
- You may still have pain, even after the hardware is removed. You may have trouble going back to your usual activities. You may have a scar.
The week before your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may need blood or urine tests before your surgery. You may also need x-rays of your hardware. Talk to your caregiver about these and other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
The night before your surgery:
- You may be given medicine to help you sleep.
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
The day of your surgery:
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your surgery. This caregiver may give you medicine to make you sleepy before your procedure or surgery. Tell your caregiver if you or anyone in your family has had a problem using anesthesia in the past.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
What will happen:
An incision will be made near the location of your hardware. Your caregiver will use small tools to loosen and remove the hardware. The incision will be closed with stitches. A bandage will cover your incision to help prevent infection.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you may be able to go home. If you cannot go home, you will be taken to your hospital room.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your surgery.
- You have a fever.
- The problems for which you are having surgery get worse.
- You have a skin infection or an infected wound near the area of the device.
- You have questions or concerns about your surgery.
Seek Care Immediately if
- You have chest pain.
- You have sudden trouble breathing.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.