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Broken Titanium Rods



Yes, I had
open back surgery in March 2011 and again October 2016. Since February 2017 I
had started experiencing severe chronic
back pain more than usual. The pain went on through February 2017 until
December of 2018. So, the surgeon who performed the surgery had ordered an MRI and X-ray to see if there were any
abnormality in my back, and that was done
on June 2018. The surgeon told me that everything seemed to normal. However,
the surgeon referred me to a pain management doctor.
Throughout my doctor visits, the pain, management doctor gave me shots in my
back for the pain and prescribed pain medications. But the doctor recently
realized there was something else was going on with my back pain since the
normal treatments weren’t helping me. So, the pain management doctor in December
2018 ordered me to get a new X-ray done. The new findings were astounding. I
have a broken titanium rod in my lower back and the second titanium rod has
also was fractured — these titanium rods that are in my back supposed to last
me a lifetime. However, the surgeon assistant who did the surgery with the
surgeon tried to explain to me that if you have a wire hanger and you continue
to bend the wire hanger back and forth eventually the hanger will break. I
asked the surgical assistant was this a manufacturing defect problem or was
this medical problem? He never answers the question. I was quite baffled about
this situation. I didn’t know who to blame the manufacture of the broken part
that went into my back or the surgeon who performed the surgery on my back.




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Comments

  • Hi juicyhips - welcome to the forum, sorry for your troubles.  I'm assuming you have titanium rods because you had spinal fusion. What was the reason for the fusion and how many levels were fused?

    10 level fusion T9 - S1 with pelvic fixation. Two titanium rods, 24 screws, 4 cages.

    Firm believer in PMA

  • hvillshhvills Suzhou, ChinaPosts: 996

    Juicyhips...

    If any of your spinal bone joints didn't fully fuse the rods will be stressed longer than they are designed for... and can/will break.  The rods are ONLY designed to support your spine for a limited time... until your spinal bone joints fuse which is usually around one year or less.  If for some reason one or more of your joints didn't fuse the rods will have to endure the loads and stresses of your spine longer than what they are designed for and will be prone to breakage. Just like the coat hanger analogy your surgeon's assistant described to you.   I experienced this first hand with my lumbar fusion surgery... and had to have a second surgery to resolve it.  It is very unlikely the rods or your surgeon are to blame.  Have you had an MRI to confirm if all of your spinal joints are fully fused??? 

    Harry - 65 year old male...
    PLIF L4-L5-S1 due to disc degeneration... May 23, 2013
    PLIF L5-S1 due to failed fusion and broken screw... Jan 19, 2015
    Microdiscectomy, decompression L3-L4 due to herniated disc... Jan 19, 2015
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