Can your body reject surgical screws?

Understanding Surgical Screws

Surgical screws are designed to support and stabilize bone fragments after a fracture or bone surgery. The procedure involves drilling a hole in the bone and fixing the screw into the hole. It provides a rigid support to the bone and allows it to heal properly. The screws may be made of different materials, such as titanium or stainless steel, and come in different sizes and shapes. When properly inserted, surgical screws can improve recovery time and reduce the risk of complications.

Can Your Body Reject Surgical Screws?

The short answer is no. Your body does not have an immune system response to surgical screws because it is an inert object. However, there are instances when the screws may cause complications or need to be removed. Let’s take a closer look.

Complications from Surgical Screws

Although rare, complications can arise from the use of surgical screws. The screws may cause pain, inflammation, or become loose over time. If the screw is not properly placed, it can damage surrounding soft tissue or organs. In some cases, the screw may break or bend, which can make it difficult to remove. The complications usually occur when the bone is not strong enough to hold the screw or if the patient is not following proper post-operative care.

Screw Removal

When a screw is causing pain or limiting mobility, the doctor may recommend removal. The surgery is usually done under local anesthesia and involves making a small incision over the screw. The screw is then unscrewed from the bone and removed. The procedure is considered safe and has a low risk of complications. However, in some cases, the bone may be weakened after the screw is removed, which can increase the risk of fracture.

Symptoms of Rejection

As mentioned earlier, surgical screws are inert objects and do not trigger an immune response. Therefore, it is impossible for your body to reject the screw. However, some patients may experience symptoms that are similar to rejection, such as pain, inflammation, and redness around the screw. These symptoms are usually a sign of infection, and it is essential to seek medical attention immediately.

Preventing Complications from Surgical Screws

Although complications from surgical screws are rare, there are several steps patients can take to reduce their risk. Here are some tips:

  • Follow your doctor’s instructions for post-operative care diligently.
  • Avoid overexertion and strenuous activities until your bone is healed.
  • Take medications as prescribed to alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Attend follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor healing progress and detect any complications early.


Surgical screws are a safe and effective way to support and stabilize bone after an injury or surgery. Although complications are rare, it is essential to monitor your symptoms and report any issues to your doctor promptly. By following your doctor’s instructions and taking proper care of your bone, you can ensure a smooth and safe recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions related to surgical screws:

  • Can the body reject surgical screws?
  • No, surgical screws are inert objects and do not trigger an immune response.

  • What are the symptoms of a problem with surgical screws?
  • Patients may experience pain, inflammation, and redness around the screw, which can be a sign of infection.

  • Is it essential to remove surgical screws?
  • It is usually not necessary to remove surgical screws unless they are causing pain or limiting mobility.

  • Is the procedure to remove surgical screws safe?
  • Yes, surgical screw removal is a safe and straightforward procedure with a low risk of complications.


  • Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Orthopedic Hardware After Fracture Care.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, September 06). Broken ankle. Mayo Clinic.
  • Sundaram, R., & Narendranath, L. (2008). Complications of hardware removal. Indian Journal of Orthopaedics, 42(1), 12–17.