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Broken titanium rod on spine



  • that after 9-10 months of my fusion that my NS will go in and remove the hardware.

    In regards to the rods breaking - the xray shows what it shows!

    Good luck!
  • I think the most important thing is to find out what is causing your pain - is it the broken rod, is it a "floating" screw, is there a non-union or failure to fuse, is it an adjacent disc that is causing the pain, etc. If I were you, I would find a surgeon experienced in revisions, that is willing to assess the cause of the pain first instead of just going in an operating becuase there is broken hardware and "lets see what we find". What if you had everything taken out, replaced, and turns out the level above was causing the pain? That would bite. Hardware failures are common, and don't often mean failure to fuse, or cause of pain; in fact I heard the opposite - if you don't fuse your hardware will break (the old hardware wasn't meant to support a spine the way a solidly fused bone would). So - ask your surgeon for a plan, once you have everything figured out get a second opinion (and maybe a third). It sounds worthwhile to get a myelogram to look for nerve root impingement, discogram to check integrity of discs above and below prior surgery and to see if they are causing pain, and some selective nerve root (where the screw is loose) blocks and facet blocks with careful diary of what gives you relief. A pain diary would also be useful. Get fixed first, then worry about "blame" if you are the "blaming" type. (I know in the consent I signed it said hardware may break, I may become paralyzed...yada yada..).and Good Luck!
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  • My son had to have back surgery 2 years ago due to scoliosis, he has 2 titanium rods and 12 screws, ever since the surgery, he staggers when he walks, is this normal? Has anyone else out there ever had this kind of a problem?
  • I got on this site checking about the safety of MRI with titanium rods and screws also, haven't found anything out yet, did you ever find anything out about this and if so, did you get an MRI with titanium rods? My son is 16 and has 2 titanium rods and 12 titanium screws due to surgery from scoliosis 2 years ago, he has been staggering when he walks ever since the surgery, so, I took him to see a neuro doctor and he sent him for an MRI, this kind of scares me even tho they say it is ok... his appointment is in 4 days, I have to make my mind up before then, so, any info would help...thanks a bunch!
  • First of all to the person who's concerned about having titanium hardware and an upcoming MRI, it's fine. I've had many CAT's and MRI's since I've had my hardware placed inside me. It's perfectly safe. The first time I had a MRI afterwards I asked about the magnetic field pulling out my hardware since I know that it does pull on metal. I was told that titanium is different and very safe. Don't worry and go ahead with the tests.
    As for hardware problems, I've never had any broken rods (so far) but I did have to have my hardware replaced and rods and braces inserted instead. I had what is called a 'BAC PAK' (spelled correctly?) and it had completely come out of my spine. My spine was no longer connected and I could feel it. I was really, really wobbly and felt like my torso was not connectced to my lower half. I was right!
    This happened in the very first month following my 2nd surgery and was installed. My surgeon would take x-rays every week to see how it was coming along and I would look at my pictures and say "Isn't that coming out?". Every single time I was told "no" and "it's perfect". Hogwash! Finally one year later after an intense search for the best surgeon I could find I was told that it had indeed come out and that was why I was in such intense pain and why I was so wobbly. My surgeon had almost paralyzed me from the waist down.
    My new surgeon fixed it to the best of his and many other surgeons capabilities but I was left with a lot of damage because of this.
    I highly recommend that you seek a 2nd opinion and make sure that you have the very best surgeon that is available, even if you have to travel to another city as I did. Believe me, it's worth it. I realize it may be a hardship but please do what you can. What happens next may have a profound impact on your future.
    As to those who say that titanium can't break, I firmly believe that anything can break. Never say never. I wish you the best of luck and hope things work out for you.
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  • I thought my problem was bad. I hope u get help for that!
    That's scarry! And I can only imagine what that must feel like.
    Keep us all updated on ur progress.
    That's very interesting( the broken rods) and hope you find relief and get the help you need.
    We most certainly all hurt and for all kinds of reasons.
    But we all live in the family of pain. So welcome to the family that hurts together and
    though each of us have our individual ordeals we still share the pain.

    Good luck to you!!!!!

  • My entire back has been fused over my life... I have bone graphs on some portions, then from roughly the middle down to my hips i have rods. I have 6 total rods and not sure how many screws.

    Some how in 2007 i was able to break one of the rods. I never heard a loud pop or anything of that nature, or atleast i dont remember hearing one. I started feeling some pinching in my back and went to the dr and come to find out when i laid down and my muscles relaxed the rod would spread where it had broken, so when i stood up or sat up, the rod would close that gap and pinch the tissue, causing the pain.

    My doctor who i have had since i was born which is almost 24 years, said that they rarely ever break and probably hadnt seen 10 break in his entire career.
  • Hi,
    I had posterior cervical spine fusion c1 to c6 with titanium plates and rods 6 years ago.
    Xray showed rods are completely broken and screws are loosed.
    My problem is that of pain/numbness/tingling.
    Don't know yet if a revision surgery will have to be done to remove broken hardware.
    Has anyone had their hardware removed because they are broken and what are the consequences if they are not removed.
    I need help as well.
  • Hi Fulhope,
    I wish I had the answer for you, but I have read of one or two other Spine Health members who have had this issue and it seems I remember it turned out well for them. If no one sees your question, start a new thread. In the subject line, clearly state your topic so that more members and readers see your question. Hopefully, you'll get an answer from someone then.
    Sorry you're going through this.
  • darlene - I think if you posted a new thread with your question about your son, your post would be seen by more :)
    L1 - S2 "gone" useless in 1 way or another. DDD. RA. Bone Spurs. Tons of nerve damage/issues. Stenosis. Both knees replaced. 50 yrs old. I had a great fall (hence my user name) at age 41 and it has been a domino effect every since.
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