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Help with answers about screws in neck

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:21 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I found out today that the titanium screws in my neck are broken. Has anyone else heard of this happening or know of a recall or anyone I can talk to for info? The pain is just about all I can take and I am on loritab abd have been for quite awhile. the surgery was on 8/02/07 and now the heads of 2 of the screws are broken. How in the hell does somneone break titanium? Am I seriuosly that tough?lmao!!! :jawdrop:
How do they fix this? I am also in a bone stim do these actually work? and if the screws are broken why not just fix it instead of making me lug around the stim for 6 more weeks. If I had it to do over I would not have done it and taken my chances.


  • I'm sorry that this is happening to you!! yes, I have heard of this happening to people unfortunately. I dont know what they do about this. All I can and will do is offer moral support and friendship!! :). Please keep us posted as to what else you find out!!!
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  • I've heard about screws in ACDF's breaking. Actually, someone else on here has a broken screw...not at the head, but further down, within the bone. I also read about another case where the screws came loose.

    What level(s) did you have done? Have any of your symptoms improved since surgery?

    Take care!

    PS...is that a pic of you? My brother used to play the drums before and after his first surgery, ACDF at C5-6. But then never pulled them back out after his 2nd surgery on C4-5. Maybe you musicians just play too hard! :)
  • I had screw troubles too. They didn't break but they came completely out of my vertebrae and the plate, migrated down my neck and ended up facing forward and at some point punctured my esophagus. I had a nasty infection and a huge abscess in my throat. This went undetected for months because difficulty swallowing is a symptom you know, they actually told me to take sore throat lozenges. For me they had to do emergency surgery to remove all hardware and then redo my fusion from the back. It's taken three surgeries and six months and I'm still in my collar. It's been a nightmare!! I talked to someone else who's screws moved and she also had to have them removed. What does your doctor say? I know they have me on bone stim and say I may have to wear it for a year. My first fusion was in May '07 and I had no bone stim and hadn't fused at all in eight months!! It was all the play in the vertebrae that drove the screws out, so they say.

    I'm with you tho, if I had to do it over again I would live with the pre-surgery pain, I am so much worse of than before treatment. I wish you well!!!

  • I think about them in my neck all the time......I was told by my surgeon that I could fall off a 2 story building and my hardware would not move...as I looked into his nerdy little face I found that hard to believe. My question is what are the screws attached to??? I had a corpectomy so there is no vertebrae......are the screws just anchored into the bone fusion?? To this day I don't think strange objects belong in the body. Just my thought.

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  • Jan--your story is really something. What a shame you have to go thru all of this! Another reason (in my opinion) to be VERY careful about surgery. I haven't had surgery, and I'm hesitant despite all the issues I have. I pray that I can safely avoid it as long as possible. I would like to hear more about your symptoms, diagnosis, and experiences. ---Mazy

    Shar51--I hope you never fall off a 2-story building! :) --Mazy
  • So I'm still having problems with swallowing and now I saw this. UGH. I'm 5 weeks post op ACDF C5-7. Should I be alarmed that something has happened?
  • Now I'm kind of thinking more about what I have in my throat... I was told that the hardware is only there to help hold things in place while everything fuses.

    I know some people have issues with screws and stuff, but many people have hardware and screws used in many different operations without any problems.

    Just like that whatever chance every operation has with it, maybe that is the same with hardware? Maybe just certain odds of something happening can cause issues? Now, if someone never fuses, I would guess those screws take more of a working holding things in place?

    I'm not going to really worry about it, think about them, yes, but it is what it is, but I also know that my surgery has been well worth it so far.

    To worry about the "what ifs", not worth it, I'd rather have a better quality of life, just my opinion for anyone thinking about not having surgery over possible hardware failure.

    Really, we all run/ran the risk of the anesthesia not putting us completely out and feeling everything, the risk of infection, them leaving something inside of us, risk about the surgery not being a success, the risk of being that small percent that has something unforeseen happen... That's almost like not walking across the street because something can happen? Everything is a gamble in life.

    Hope I don't come across the wrong way, just there's other things to think about, thats all.

    Man, I would also hope for those with problems with their hardware, it would be addressed and corrected right away!!!
  • I'd talk to your doctor when you see them again. I am 9-weeks post op from c6-c7 ACDF... Now that my collar is off for about two-weeks, I am noticing the difference in my throat as I am starting to move my neck more and more.

    I'm sure it is just because now there is something else in there between our vertebrae and whatever else in in there - LOL

    I am going to discuss it with my neurosurgeon when I see him next week about when I can go back to work, but I'm not too worried, it is going to take sometime to get use to.

    Thank God I really didn't have any issues with my throat more then the night after surgery and the following day.

    Hope your recovery goes well, take it easy!
  • I had two bulging discs, stenosis, bone spurs and foraminal narrowing C5-7. Most of my pain was in my neck with decreased ROM and in my shoulderss. I had spasms that would completely take me out of commission with terrible headaches and my right arm was like dead weight, painful with any use. The scariest thing, that led me to surgery was that my doc said if I was in an accident or to take a fall, those bone spurs could sever my spinal cord and I could end up paralyzed. I wonder now the validity of that comment. My advice to anyone is get lots of opinions!!!! remember doctors only practice medicine. I have permanent nerve damage due to the complications from the failed fusion and was told I am extremely lucky. Bottom line, my doc screwed up with me!! I'm sure of it.

    Good luck to you, my current Doc is excellent if you want a referral, I don't know where you live, but she saved my life - literally!!


    One more thing, I've had three epidural injections years previous to my surgery and was always very happy with the results and alleviation of pain, have you tried that?
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