Are you considering foot surgery? Many patients have questions about the types of hardware or implants that may be used during foot surgery. Implants are utilized for a variety of reasons during surgery; to hold two bones together, to strengthen a repair of soft tissue, or to attach soft tissue to bone (an anchor of sorts!).
There are two main types of implants in surgery; biologic and non-biologics. Biologic materials are designed to very closely mimic tissue that replace or make existing tissue or structures stronger. On the other hand, non-biologics are made from materials that are designed to stay the same over time. The most common non-biologics that people are familiar with are plates, wires, and screws. These implants can be made of metals, alloys, or plastic.
Concerns many individuals have include: setting off alarms at airports, the permanence of screws, screw breakage, and implant removal.
- You will not set off alarms at the airport or at department stores! You need a very large amount of metal to be present in order to do this.
- Over time, screws may loosen (back out) or break. This is not a cause for alarm. Hardware can be removed if it is prominent, painful, or if it is no longer performing the function it was intended to. Hardware removal does require an additional surgery, which does mean anesthesia, possible risk of infection, and time off from work for the surgery. A smaller incision is usually made over the original incision over the area of the hardware. The hardware may be difficult to identify if it is covered in scar tissue or has become incorporated into the bone. This may then require a larger incision or more dissection to remove the hardware.
What if you don’t want the hardware to remain in your body? There are options available!
In bunion surgery, we have been utilizing a special screw which can be removed approximately 6-8 weeks after your initial surgery date. The screw is an implantable device specifically designed for TEMPORARY bone fixation with a special design that allows for quick and easy removal after your bone has appropriately healed. If you are interested in having surgery and would like to discuss any of the above mentioned issues further, please give our offices a call! Advanced Podiatry of Manhasset or Advanced Podiatry of Huntington. We look forward to meeting you!