On December 31, 2013, I had the hardware (screws) removed from both my right and left hips. The 5 screws in my right hip were originally installed during my PAO surgery — they kept the piece of bone that had been cut out of my hip in its new position (after it was broken and shifted into place) and they had to stay until new bone grew in the spaces that remained. Similarly, the 3 screws in my left hip were originally installed during my Surgical Dislocation aka Open surgery — the greater trochanter had to be broken and repositioned and the screws had to keep that section of bone in place until actual bone grew in.
Typically, the screws are left in place following a PAO and/or Open surgery. However, if the screws cause discomfort, either because they rub against the skin or rub against muscle, they can be surgically removed (as long as the bones have grown together). In my case, the bones have grown back together and the screws are causing A LOT of discomfort. So out they come go.
The procedure for hardware removal is a lot easier coming out than going in. The existing incisions were reopened, muscles moved, screws unscrewed, and me sewn back together. The entire process of screws being removed from both hips took about an hour and was done as an out-patient procedure. The only side effect is the potential for hematomas at the screw sites which could cause a blood build-up around the incision site.