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Broken titanium rod on spine



  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • I have had a rod break before, it hurt for a while, but i guess after a while my body accepted it and it stopped hurting. It only hurt mostly when i would lay down and my back/rods would relax and the space would open up between both ends of the broken rod, so when i would stand up i could feel a pinching feeling back there.

    I am not sure if your spinal issues are from birth or from an accident of some sorts. My issues are from birth, and from what my doctor says which i have had him since 1986 when i was a year old, i am his only patient with what i have (its rare, and i dont even know the name of it) but it started off with a fusion of my upper back/neck and as i got older more had to get fused. But in 2005, they removed the 2 rods they put in 2000 b/c the lower part of my back had started to curve under the pressure since the upper part wouldnt move, so they took out the 2 rods and put in 6 if that wasnt done then my back would have curved the point of breaking.

    If all your rods are broken, and your back is still curving then you need to get it looked at and revised or you will regret it one day. If only one rod is broken and your fusion is still intact then your okay i guess. They removed the broken rod in my back and all the screws assocaited with it, but since my fusion was intact they didnt have to replace it. Which is good since the surgery to put all of it in was over 12 hours long. Another issue is, do you have the pinching feeling in your back which is essentailly tissue being pinched and killed. When they opened up my back to remove the broken section they removed some dead tissue.

    If you have any questions or want to chat, i am open to it.
  • i have two broken titanium rods in my lower back .i had my first sugery when i turn 21 after three months my rods started to feel like they was rubbin together so i got the checked and they was like two inches apart so i wait another two to three months to hvae my second sugery and after this on i was like 22 and these rods held like four months morte long than the first two rods and end up breakin again i am now 27 and still hurtin and still walkin pretty good
  • I had spinal fusion just over 3 years ago....T6 through T12. I have 12 screws and two rods, 3 cages and had bone grafted. I've been reading the posts above about problems with hardware after surgery.

    My neurosurgeon told me I could never to things like water aerobics, ride a bicycle, swim...anything that would twist my back. I can never lift anything over 20 lbs. He said I had to be very careful because two of the screws are close to my aorta.

    I can feel the rods and screws when the weather changes, when I fly...times like that.

    I never want to go through a surgery like that again. I am 62 years old and still very active...as active as I can be.

    I am very overweight, however, and that scares me. I had already decided to join the Y and use the a couple of machines like the treadmill and eliptocal (sp?). And, I'm going to a weight loss clinic in a few months (my gyno is opening one in four months).

    I thought something I post might help someone else. BTW, I had six herniated discs in my thoracic spine and it took two years to be diagnosed. Sounds ridiculous, but it's true. No doctor ever did an MRI of my thoracic spins until 3 weeks before my surgery. My neurosurgeon said i would have been paralyzed had I not had surgery soon. He kept saying "time is of the essence."

    I never had pain, just went numb constantly on my left side, my left leg started dragging and wouldn't turn when I wanted it to and I would fall going up stairs because my left leg wouldn't lift, even though I thought it was.

    Good luck to all of you.
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