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Cervical hernia surgery with titanium or steel screws?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

I’am writing on behalf of my 58 years old father because he is in a desperate situation. Five years ago he had here in Romania a double cervical herniated disc surgery – between C5-C6 and C6-C7. Doctors used as a substitution of the intervertebral discs, his own pelvic-abdominal bone (I think the name of the bone is iliac crest). The doctors attached to the new formed “block” (=C5-new bone disc-C6-new bone disc-C7) a metal plate made from titanium for suport . This titanium plate was “bounded” to the block with six screws. After these years my father has again back problems and needs an MRI (magnetic resonance) but the big problem is that the doctors who made the surgery are not sure if all the screws they put inside my father’s neck are from titanium 100% or some of them have the core made from steel. They made a CT scan but didn’t help them to clarify the problem. This way he can not get the MRI he needs. Doctors said that if his condition will get worse they have to make another surgery to get the titanium plate and screws out and only after that to make the MRI to see where exactly the new problem occurred in the spine. The titanium plate and screws after 5 years joint toghether with the tissue so good that the surgery to remove them is really dangerous. My father’s body didn’t rejekt the plate and screws, he recovered well enough after the surgery, that’s why 2 years ago when he went again for a check up the doctors told him that removing the plate is to dangerous and if it doesn’t disturb him in any way, he should let the plate where it was. He didn’t have the surgery then….and now it's more complicated. My appeal for you all is to tell me if you know any other way for us to find out from what kind of material the screws inside the neck are made from. If we can find out that there is only titanium 100% he can get the MRI and even make a new surgery (if necessary) without removing the plate and screws. Thank you all for reading my long post and I apologise for my writing mistakes.



  • Welcome you and your farther to spine-health. Why do they suspect the screws were not true titanium? Another source to check is a Ct myelogram while a bit more involved it is somewhat like a MRI, but should have more detail. I am not sure if that is available technology where you are. Most parts that go in the body have serial numbers on them and or the surgeon who placed them has the manufacture as well. Trace the manufacture and see what type of metal they were using on the production time series. Sorry to hear you all are going through this. Good luck and let us know how it works out. Once again welcome to spine-health. Your writing is just fine no worries.
  • Hi, thanks for your prompt answer. The doctor told my father that during the surgery he looked only to find the right sized screws for him and he is "almost" sure that they are all from titanium but it could be that some of them are made from steel. This is the reason why my father can not take an MRI, the steel is a magnetizable metal and in this case the MRI is forbidden. He did make a simple CT which did not help the doctor to find out the answer regard of the screws. He's not feeling well lately, he has numbness in his left arm and leg, he needs the MRI, but how? Doctor says that if the numbness is not going away with physiotherapeutics, he must have the surgery for removing the rod and screws, after that to have the MRI without any metal inside and only after to have the new surgery if needed in his present case. He offered fast the solution, but the removing part is so risky ... we don't think that my father will be alive for the MRI or he'll be paralysed. Because of the doctors's inattension, he first have to endure the removing surgery to get to an MRI who can clarify his present pain and numbness. Complicated situation... I wonder if there isn't any other way to resolve the problem with the screws, like a test with a small magnet...I really don't know what to do.
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