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Hardware Removal


  • Hardware removal is surgery to take out devices used to fix your bone. These devices may include metal pins, screws, plates, surgical wires, or bone implants. These types of hardware are placed to hold and put your broken bones back together until they heal. Some hardware may be used for a short period of time, while some may be left in place permanently. Hardware removal is usually done because of problems caused by the implant, such as pain or infection. It may also be done when the hardware causes allergy or bone fracture. Others may want them removed because of cancer risk or to avoid security metal detection. Hardware in young children may need to be removed to prevent problems with bone growth.
    Long Bone
  • During hardware removal, your caregiver makes an incision (cut) over the same area used when the hardware is placed. The hardware is slowly and carefully separated from nearby tissues to prevent damage. Special instruments are also used to loosen and free the hardware from your bone. Your wound is closed using stitches (threads) and covered with bandages.


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

  • Ask your caregiver when you need to return to have your wound checked and the stitches removed.


You may need to have plenty of rest. Avoid too much movement or activities for a few months after hardware removal. This is to allow your bones to heal. Ask your caregivers when to resume your usual activities.

Using crutches, cane, or walker:

You may need to use crutches, a cane, or a walker. They may help you get around, and decrease your chance of falling or being hurt. It is important to use your crutches, cane, or walker correctly. Ask your caregiver for more information about how to use crutches, a cane, or a walker.

Wound care:

Do not let your wound get wet. Always keep your wound clean and dry. When you are allowed to bathe or shower, carefully wash the wound with soap and water. Afterwards, put on clean, new bandages. Change your bandages every time they get wet or dirty. Ask your caregiver for more information about wound care.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have more pain and swelling even after taking pain medicines.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, surgery, or medicine.


  • Your bandages become soaked with blood.
  • Your incision is swollen, red, has pus coming from it, or the stitches have come apart.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.