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Broken titanium rod on spine



  • 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
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  • 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.
  • I recently had a Myelogram, which is where they inject some dye into your spinal canal and take a bunch of x-rays to diagram the blood flow through your spinal cord. They discovered that one of my rods was not only broken, but that the broken ends were separated with about an inch between them.
    I uploaded my x-ray as my profile pic, but you may or may not be able to see it.
  • 2009 had two titatium rods in middle part of back. rods broke in 2011. This is the part of back that i have limited movements. I also have two rods in lower back since 2004 and no problems and can touch my ankles.Dr. ask me what was i doing, isaid just walking
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  • Titanium can definitely break. I had a pedicle screw break from a L3-L5 fusion that I had done in May '10. I just had it revised in October. When they opened me up, I guess the screw had broken off into my bone and they had to dig a looong time to get it out (surgeon's words). Before I had the revision I had been experiencing more pain in my back plus additional tingling and numbness going down my legs. Part of the screw was actually infringing on one of my nerves, causing it to fire off every time the surgeons went near it. The numbness and tingling isn't as bad anymore. The pain is still there, but that's because I'm relatively new out of surgery
  • Oh yes, rods can break. It is due to a phenomenon called metal fatigue. Every time you bend a piece of metal, no matter how far, it gets a little bit weaker. A good example of metal fatigue is when you repeatedly bend the tab on an aluminum can back and forth. Eventually, it breaks off.

    Both of the stainless steel rods in my back broke because my spine never fused. One of the broken ends had actually drifted into my spinal canal. I had the rods removed three weeks ago and replaced with the "legacy" hardware.

    For the last dozen years, I have suffered from chronic back pain and ate up to 4 lortabs a day. Before I had surgery, I could not even imagine what life was like without pain. In my lifetime, I have eaten approximately 12,000 pain pills.

    I am proud to say that I have not taken a single pain pill in the last 5 days. I cannot believe how much better life is now that I am no longer in pain.
  • oh wow JS!! wonderful that you are doing so well !!! :)

    was the pain from the broken rods?
    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.
  • 1997 motorcycle accident left me with herniated disks to C6-7, then to lumbar area down to sacrum. Torn sacro-illiac joint
    2001 Cervical spine surgery.
    2007 Ruptured herniated disks from L3 to S1. 1st surgery in April, which collapsed within 3 days of being home. 2nd surgery on Memorial day weekend same year. Rods, nuts, bolts, screws collapsed less than a month later & I was refused service by orthopedic surgeon.
    I went back to work walking around hospitals teaching in severe pain without pain meds. I had them, I didn't work on them.
    Reinsured in 2009, diagnosed Oct 2009 with collapsed rods, nuts & screw attached to spinal nerve. I continued to work until I no longer could & then had surgery July 1, 2010. Physician said the last surgeon had no idea what he was doing as the titanium was dangling and the one screw attached itself to the nerve & it was impossible to remove the screw for fear of paralyzing me.

    It took me almost a year to walk again without a cane. I still have nerve damage which causes severe pain at times from my vagina down to both feet.

    This last surgery I had titanium rods placed to support my lumbar spine, down to my sacrum with titanium screw still in place on nerve. Titanium rods from pelvic bone to pelvic bone to support the torn sacro-illiac joint.

    I am unable to stand in one place for a long time, sit straight up, walk long distances or lie down without pain. My pain level is the least at a 7, most times a 10. But I'm a survivor.

    How I relieve pain: Do not laugh ok laugh......

    I am a biker, motorcycles got me in this mess, and they relieve my tension, pain & stress. I still ride even in excruciating pain, not because it's my only transportation, but it's because I still can ride it. I ride to forget the pain.

    I meditate as well. I just focus on something & try to relax.
    I take very hot showers to soothe the pain.
    I wrap myself at bedtime in an electric blanket to sleep. I have a Sealy blanket that heats up only when touching the body, so it keeps my whole body warm & relaxes the pain.
    Here in CA we have medical MJ & I made a tincture to put under my tongue to work right away. It relieves the pain quickly.

    I have asked my physician who did the 2nd surgery who the manufacturer of the equipment that collapsed causing the damage & they refuse to respond. And no lawyers would take this as a lawsuit.

    A lawsuit won't get rid of the pain, but the last surgery made it possible for me to walk, ride, live a decent life, but unable to work again. But am not really complaining because I am still alive.

    I never settled for the pain & kept hounding physicians until the problem was fixed. All titanium is still in place supporting my spinal column. I was never promised any miracles or to be pain free again. I WAS promised a stable spinal column & that's what I now have. I can handle that.
  • i also have had an mri with titanium rods and no sweat. in fact they injected a dye into me so it could be better seen on the mri. never had a problem. i have rods from L5-L3. the last one this year they went into my side for my fusion.
    may the rods be with you obie ben wobie
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
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