View Full Version : I have a question...

11-04-2003, 09:56 PM
Hey everyone!
When I read some of the post the adults write, a lot of them say they need another surgrey because their rods broke. I was wondering if anybody's rods broke in here. Can they still break after a year? I've asked my doctor a million times before and he always says no they can't. But after reading all those posts, it gets me wondering. So if anybody can just tell me if it's ever happened to them and how...

11-11-2003, 10:09 PM
Im not sure if they can break or not. Im 13, getting surgery in December. Ask your doctor again please! Tell him about what many people say on this site, cuz now im curious too!!
And let me know if you ever find out. Ill bring this question up when i see my doctor next week.


11-11-2003, 10:59 PM
One of the myths about modern scoliosis surgeries is that the rods break. While this may be theoretically possible given some significant manufacturing defect in the rod's construction--which I've never heard a case of--the rods are incredibly strong and do not break unless the underlying spinal fusion wasn't solid. If the vertebrae aren't successfully fused together, the hooks and screws that connect the rods to the spine may essentially fall out or fall off because they lack a solid foundation. If the hooks or screws detach, the rod may detach, too. It's then possible that the loose, floating rod will bend and flex so much that it eventually wears out and then may fatigue and crack.

This kind of situation is exceedingly rare given modern surgical techniques and instrumentation. Younger patients have even less to worry about, since their successful fusion rates are very high and thus the foundation for the hardware should be quite solid. Really, this is not something to worry about.


11-13-2003, 04:29 PM
I'll let you know what my doctor says when I go, but my next appointment isen't until December. When is your surgery? Anyways, my doctor always says that the rods will only break if you do activites that your not ready for after surgery. Before my surgery, which was December 11, I played soccer. This December 11 coming up I will finally be allowed to play again! But my mom is worried that my rods will break even tho my dr says they won't. So now I'm in the process of persuading her that I will be alright. But after reading those other posts, I'm not sure if I wil be.

11-13-2003, 07:56 PM
My surgery is this December 29th. To my suprise im not nervous or scared at all anymore. Im kindof excited. I think this is not a regretable decision. But yea im into alot of sports and activities, and its too bad i wont be able to do them at all for a year. But theres always someway i could be involved with my dance group without dancing, and I can still help take care of horses...and so on.

Thank you so much for sharing your knownledge with us! I appreciate it so much. It gave me alot of comfort after i was so freaked out about rods breaking. Im gonna try not to break the activity rules that my doctor sets down for me....at least anything that would put any pressure on my back.


01-07-2004, 03:50 PM
I am also having surgery, but mine is January 29. I am also involved in alot of sports, like gymnastics and dance. My doctor says after a year I can go back to both but it will limit me in gymnastics. But he said that I would have no problem at dance. I hope this advice helps a little!
Best Wishes,

01-13-2004, 10:23 PM
My name is Amy and I am 27 years old -- had my surgery at 16. My rods and instrumentation are perfect and have caused no problems. I am seriously fused too - from L1 to L4 -- top to bottom basically. I also had two children with no complications. I do however have limited flexiblilty and pain in my hips. I take a mild anti-flamatory occaisionally and have no other problems. Hope this helps ya out!

01-15-2004, 03:49 PM
Thanks Amy for telling me that! It was reassureing because I'm just starting to go back to gym and some of the things we do I'm still kinda nervous to try! I used to be flexable before my surgery, and I'm totally NOT flexable any more! I can't even touch my toes!!! Aghhhh!!!!

01-15-2004, 09:04 PM
Don't push yourself! If your doctor told you not to do something -- listen to him. I was told not to run and had to give up an extremely athletic lifestyle. I played sports and had planned on attending college on an Air Force ROTC scholarship. Not only could I not play sports but I couldn't join the military after spinal fusion. After my first baby I ignored the doctor and ran a mile everyday to loose the weight. It was a HUGE mistake -- that is why I take the anti-flamatory now. Don't be stubborn! Look for other activities that can be just as athletic like swimming (the best) and biking. Don't risk pain later on. I know it sounds impossible to give up something so important but it's for the best. :)

12-12-2005, 10:02 AM
can the rod break????!!!!?????
oh my god im scared now. as it is im bit nervous about bending over and things incase it breaks, but it can break????????!!!!!!
write back soon
sheena xxxx

12-17-2005, 11:39 AM
it's very rare. titanium is the metal generally used in spinal fusion systems and is chosen due to it's low density and compatability with human bodies. harrington rods were/are more likely to break because they are just a straight rod, whereas surgeons know more about spines now and contour a rod to fit with the natural kyphosis/lordosis of a spine. i believe harringtons are no longer used in the UK/north america/australia, but some asian subcontinental doctors (for example in india) are still using them

12-18-2005, 11:23 PM
well this guy inthe obs unit with me was fused for little more than a year he crashed his dirt bike and had to have the surgery all over again....so i guess you can break them but i'm thinking you'd really have to fall wrong or from a high distance to do it

12-23-2005, 12:05 PM
I had my surgery in the early 90's. I had a good recovery and I am now a full time firefighter. So I was released from all restrictions. I recently have been having some lower back troubles. My doctor that performed the surgery has sinced retired. So I went to an orthapedic specialist to have him examine and take x-rays. I was refered to him by my sister who has had the same surgery. After reviewing the x-rays we discovered my rods had broke on both sides in the L-3,and L-4 regions of my spine. I am now scheduling MRI's and Bone scans. The Dr. is concerned that there is a lot of pressure on my lower disc.

If anyone can fill me in on any ifnromation on this problem, please e-mail me at wmcbride@triad.rr.com.

West McBride
North Carolina

12-24-2005, 08:58 PM
I hate to brake it to you but my rods have broken before. In 2004, March I had rods put in and then in March 05 we found they had broken. They believe that my rods broke in February. Anyway, in June I had two surgeries to replace and refuse. Those were my 7+8 spinal surgery, they were my 6+7 in 3.5 years. My rods were the top of the line titanium, perfectly made, but my fusion didn't take and so my rods broke. It was the 4th time that my fusion didn't take. It can happen and it has. A lot of other rare stuff has happened to me too, like have a screw IN my thoracic aorta and stuff. Anyway, I'm not saying it will happen to you but just don't think that this stuff doesn't happen. Oh, I didn't do anything I wasn't supposed to post op. In fact, I was in extreme pain because the fusion didn't take so all I did was a lot of PT. I am still in pain and next week I go to the ortho to see if I need more surgery. Last time I went he said that I most likely will, but maybe something has changed and I don't. My parents have said that as long as my rods aren't broken again I can say no to the surgery, that's if I need one of course.

12-25-2005, 04:28 PM
As others have said, rods can break if the underlying fusion is not solid. If there is part of the spine unfused under the rod, it will put so much stress on the rod that eventually it will almost always break due to metal fatigue. The rod doesn't need to detach in order to break.