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Broken Pedicle screw

I had a 2 level l4-s1 fusion (PLIF) with BMP about 4 years ago. First the BMP overgrew and caused almost complete obliteration of nerve root. Now I have found out that one of the lower pedicle screws is fractured. I had been making great progress getting my life back --being able to walk and hike--until about 3 months ago when pain started to increase but in my good side! It is the first time in a couple of years that I kept wanting to sit or lay down with simple walking very small distances. I am very discouraged. They found the broken screw by chance when the xrayed for a small bowel test. Now my question is what have others experienced as far as symptoms and pain. I am interested to find out what was done about the broken screw and what kind of results have you had? Any thoughts would be appreciated!


  • If the broken screw has moved anywhere that its causing issues causing pain then all hardware can be removed at this point after you are already fused, Many have the hardware removal some due to hardware causing some pressure and pain after they fused,

    You have to remember once you fused hardware is doing nothing any longer but siting there and if fusion is nice and solid and wont give out hardware can go and be removed ! Now i am sure some that never have issue with hardware being in there have no reason to have another surgery just to remove it as why take a risk again if its not broken and it dont hurt why mess with it,

    But i would wonder i guess in your case what caused it to break ! Was it broke long ago during surgery and nobody seen it untill now ! Or was the force from movement caused it to break and now spine has shifted some so they have to look at the fusion make sure its still solid,

    They will have to decide from there if you need that screw replaced or removed for any reason or if screw is touching a nerve only, they might remove the hardware all together !

    You can get a hardware block injection which helps them block out the hardware see if pain feels beter or not without hardware, After my hardware block i decided to have the hardware removed and surgery was nowhere as bad as having hardware put in for the fusion,

    Best of luck let us know what they see on further mri and what spine specialist recomends in your situation,

    Best wishes , And Happy Newyear !
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Jlg, hi and welcome.

    I agree with Alex. Something's strange here. If it broke 3 mths ago, then its a fatigue failure from stress in the hardware. So this means that the fusion must be flexing and hence is suspect, I.e. failure of solid fusion as evidenced by breakage of hardware. See http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/spinal-fusion/fusion-surgery-considerations

    Alex has given you good info above.

    Yes, interested to follow your progress too.

    Take care.
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