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Thread: Possible Rod Break...? Or is it bending?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    46

    Possible Rod Break...? Or is it bending?

    Hello all!

    I think I might have a dilemma. I was fused (almost) 2 years ago, and will be approaching my one year anniversary next month for my thoracoplasty.
    Just recently, I have felt mild to extreme pain by my right shoulder blade/around where my rod is when i'm laying, getting up from bed, walking down steps, or just randomly. Also, I feel as though I can FEEL a bump where my spine is...I'm assuming this is my rod because I've always felt it to some degree, but lately it is protruding. I think my rod might be broken. I've been looking up on these posts as to what that feels like exaclty, but I can't tell if this is my problem. I never heard a distinct 'snap' or anything...so could it be that my rod is bending?
    I'm not expecting an answer..just wondering if anyone has had similar experiences. Also, my case is a little unique since I just had the thoracoplasty a year ago...could it be my ribs growing back..?
    I'm probably going to go to the Urgent Care center tomorrow to get an X-ray, because my appt. with my surgeon isn't until the end of the month, as i'm in college in a different town than my hometown.... I'm just worried. So many thoughts are going through my head...if it does/did snap, would my spinal cord be okay..?

    Any advice/help would be appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,795
    Quote Originally Posted by curvycakes View Post
    Hello all!

    I think I might have a dilemma. I was fused (almost) 2 years ago, and will be approaching my one year anniversary next month for my thoracoplasty.
    Just recently, I have felt mild to extreme pain by my right shoulder blade/around where my rod is when i'm laying, getting up from bed, walking down steps, or just randomly. Also, I feel as though I can FEEL a bump where my spine is...I'm assuming this is my rod because I've always felt it to some degree, but lately it is protruding. I think my rod might be broken. I've been looking up on these posts as to what that feels like exaclty, but I can't tell if this is my problem. I never heard a distinct 'snap' or anything...so could it be that my rod is bending?
    I'm not expecting an answer..just wondering if anyone has had similar experiences. Also, my case is a little unique since I just had the thoracoplasty a year ago...could it be my ribs growing back..?
    I'm probably going to go to the Urgent Care center tomorrow to get an X-ray, because my appt. with my surgeon isn't until the end of the month, as i'm in college in a different town than my hometown.... I'm just worried. So many thoughts are going through my head...if it does/did snap, would my spinal cord be okay..?

    Any advice/help would be appreciated!
    Hi...

    I'm betting that it's not broken, and it essentially cannot bend without tools that are made to make the rod bend.

    Also, usually in thoracoplasties, the ribs are treated in such a way that they will regrow (but in a flattened position).

    If you're in a lot of pain, than urgent care is probably a good idea. If you're doing it because you're worried, I would wait until your regularly scheduled appointment. Even if something is wrong, there is nothing to be done on an urgent basis.

    Good luck!

    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
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    46
    Thanks Linda,

    I did go to the Urgent Care center, they took an x-ray, and nothing seemed to be broken. Actually, though, one of the screws looked a little weird but I'll have to compare it to an x-ray that I have at home. They gave me a copy so that was nice. The doctor didn't really know too much about the fusion and was shocked that I was going to have these rods in there for all of my life! Haha, he hadn't ever looked at a fusion x-ray before, I guess..?

    Anyway, will go to the surgeon at the end of the month and see what the pain is all about.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Huxley, Iowa
    Posts
    190
    glad nothing is broken I hope the wonky screw is nothing much, and I hope they can figure out why you are hurting!

    Its a little disturbing about the doctor not having seen a fusion xray before! Though if I have an xray I have had OTHER doctors that weren't treating me walk in to see "how I looked" after having so much instrumentation. lol
    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
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    237
    I had a very similar experience last summer and I was positive the rod had either broken or had moved or something very scary. People on here and elsewhere told me it was probably something else (i forget what they said). I emailed pictures to my surgeon and by the time I realized he hadn't commented on the pictures, that particular pain was gone. It left as quickly as it came and has not returned. I believe it had something to do with the type of exercise I was doing at the time (trampoline on a pilates machine) and have not done that since then. I was 100% sure the rod was broken and I was 100% wrong. I have no idea what it actually was but whatever it was is gone and I am pleased as a newborn kitten.
    avis
    1987 Lumbar Laminectomy (forget which levels)
    2005 A/P fusion, L2 - L5, 2/2005
    2009 2 Posterior fusions, T6 - Pelvis, 2/10 & 2/18,
    Dr. Frank Rand, NEBH

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