Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: How do the rods break?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    3

    How do the rods break?

    I have read so many threads where Rods have broken. How on earth do these rods get broken?
    I had Harrington Rods back in 1976 when I was 16. I have never had any problems until now because my lower spine has twisted so they have removed the existing hardware and put in 2 new rods. My old rods are/were still in good shape. I am now wondering if I should worry about my new rods breaking?
    My surgery was January 11th this year.
    I'm doing great although I am worrying that the Stem Cell fusion won't knit properly because I'm 50 now and the bone is not A quality.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    70
    Hi Marian, I have rods since 2002 they are not H-rods, mine are stainless steel, I ask the same question when I read that they break, I do need revision surgery, but my rods are in good shape, now the surgery will be to correct sagittal imbalance.
    good luck Lu

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,283
    Hi Marian..

    The process of rods breaking has been compared to paperclips breaking. When an area of the spine doesn't fuse, the spine is allowed to move in that one spot, over and over again, thousands of times every day. When the spine moves, the rod(s) also experience micro movement. Eventually, that movement causes the rod(s) to break.

    Regards,
    Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If you've signed up and are having trouble posting, please check your spam folder. An email was sent to the email address which you subscribed. You have to follow the instructions in that email. Done that and still having trouble posting? Contact Joe O'Brien at jpobrien@scoliosis.org.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Huxley, Iowa
    Posts
    190
    Linda explained it very well. Eventually the rods just take so much stress from an un-fused area that they break. I was once told that basically the art of fusion is a race against time. One of two things will happen: either the area fuses before the rods reach their breaking point and everything stays stable, or the area doesn't fuse fast enough and the rods break. Fortunately for most people the area fuses well before the rods get close to breaking.
    25 years old
    double 70+ degree curves before surgery
    Anterior on 11/11/08
    Posterior on 12/2/08 with titanium rods
    nearly perfect correction
    fused t-10 to pelvis
    with a hemi-vertebral osteotomy at L4

    Broke right rod at L4-L5 on 06/26/09
    Broke left rod on 10/24/09
    Revision surgery on 11/5/09 with vitallium rods
    Broke both rods again

    Had posterior than anterior revisions on 03/11 at the Twin Cities Spine Center
    Declared "FUSED" on 12/6/11

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    3
    This info is helpful, thank you. Fierce - good luck to you for end of this month.

    I am hoping and praying that my fusion fuses and all goes well with this set of rods.

    Marian

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    197
    It's also my understanding that titanium rods are easier to "chink" when bending them for the PT's back, and that they are very hard to see but can lead to hairline fractures that ultimately break. Which is one more reason stainless is considered "gold standard" by a lot of orthopods.
    Female, age 38
    4 years of bracing, concluded at 42*upper/38*lower
    currently 64*upper/40*lower
    Fused T3-L4 on Feb 23 2011
    now 32*upper/18* lower

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    929
    I wonder if they'll use titanium or steel for my son. Another question to wright down to ask. I also wonder if there's a difference in what they use for adults/teens. Anyone know?
    Son 14 y/o diagnosed January 20th. 2011 with 110* Curve
    Halo Traction & 1st. surgery on March 22nd. 2011
    Spinal Fusion on April 19th. 2011

    Dr. Krajbich @ Shriners Childrens Hospital, Portland Oregon



    http://tinyurl.com/Elias-Before
    http://tinyurl.com/Elias-After

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    2,834
    Elisa

    I don’t think that anyone here has had 316 stainless screws used. They usually use Titanium for screws. Titanium is the best “anti corrosive” selection, you can throw it in the ocean for 30000 years, and it will not rust or tarnish at all. Titanium’s are selected for ROV sub sea use over stainless, since salt water is so corrosive. Titanium’s also produce clear MRI results over 316 stainless.

    Rods can be either 316 stainless (surgical, VAR vacuum arc remelt) which is tough stuff BTW, or Titanium or Vitallium.....they also use Cobalt Chrome alloy rods, another very durable selection. Alloys are mixtures of elements, like cooking in the kitchen. Throw it in a pot, and heat. Refried beans are refried, VAR is re-melted. Same thing. LOL

    Rods generally break upon non-union. If fusion does not occur, any metal selection will break.

    You have probably seen “Peek” mentioned here. Peek rods are used for 1 or 2 levels only. They are molded, flexible and they will not break. It’s a thermoplastic sometimes used for spacers. I have peek spacers or cages in my back.

    You can ask your surgeon. The integrity of the hardware systems used today is fantastic.
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 55, the new 45...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    A/P T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    197
    Elisa, I think it depends on what the surgeon is most comfortable using/prefers. Same with what they use for the bone fusion (BMP, donor, allograft). My surgeon recommended allograft for me and I said I didn't want it - he was equally comfortable with donor bone and said he recs allo b/c "a lot of people are more comfortable using their own bone than donor but it takes 20 mins off surgery and reduces risk since there's no second incision, so no problem." Just as well since my surgery ran 2 hrs over!
    Female, age 38
    4 years of bracing, concluded at 42*upper/38*lower
    currently 64*upper/40*lower
    Fused T3-L4 on Feb 23 2011
    now 32*upper/18* lower

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •