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Thread: Anyone Had Harrington Rod Removal After 20+ years?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    9

    Question Anyone Had Harrington Rod Removal After 20+ years?

    I'm having excruciating burning pain in my groin, thighs, lower back, etc. etc. My doctor has diagnosed me with neurogenic claudication as a result of the hook of my harrington rod destroying the discs below it. He has prescribed a CT Myelogram (scared to death of that) and said that I may need to have the rod removed or the hook clipped off. My rod has been in place for 40 years! Has anyone had their rods taken out after 20+ years? What was the surgery like? The recovery? Did it help you with your pain? I need info before I consent to doing anything.

    Ty in advance for any info.

    Siubhal

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    1,934
    I have no comment except to say Good luck. I had a CT melogram and it was too bad
    Melissa

    All surgeries are on hold right now

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,274
    Hi Siubhal ...

    THIS group has about 900 members, most of whom had Harrington implants, and who needed to have revision surgery.

    It seems unlikely that just removing your Harrington rod will solve much. Do you know if the surgeon you're seeing has done a lot of revision surgery? Where are you located?

    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
    Jun 2011
    Location
    South Jersey
    Posts
    133
    I've had two posterior spinal fusions with Harrington rods...see signature...I had them removed 9 months ago due to severe degenerated discs below it (like you) and Flatback Deformity, which was pitching me forward and causing a lot of pain. When you're fused like that, the discs below it take all the force and torque so degeneration over decades (2 decades in my case) is inevitable as the other discs are fused and can't act like shock absorbers (as is the case with healthy spines and discs). If you're fused to L3 for example, L4 and 5 will be taking all the abuse. Over time, those discs will wear out. In your case, the discs below your fusion have been taking all that stress for 40 years! It doesn't surprise me that you're in such pain. Harrington rods don't last forever and in today's medical thinking, they're deemed "faulty" because they only address one plane of movement (there are 4)! Is your doctor replacing the discs below your fusion and refusing you at the same or different level. But I agree, just taking out the hooks and rods won't fix our pain. You most likely have nerve impingement somewhere too (which is why your doctor ordered the myelogram).

    I wish you the best. I'm preparing for my 3rd surgery of 2012 in just 3 weeks (#5 in my lifetime) so I know what it means to be scared. If I hadn't broken my back 7 weeks post op, I would say that my 2 surgeries earlier this year were a success. All the best to you with your decision.
    Last edited by jerseyot; 10-07-2012 at 03:38 PM.
    1993/1995: PSF w/ Harrington rods T3-L4
    Jan. 24, 2012: ALIF of L4-L5, L5-S1 w/ cage spacer and BMP
    Jan. 31, 2012: PLIF of L1-S1 w/ pelvic anchors
    Scheduled Nov.15, 2012: Fusion T2-S1 w/ pelvic anchors to fix T12 fracture
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...ot/myback2.jpg - BEFORE
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT2342x406.jpg - AFTER
    http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c3...CT1410x229.jpg - AFTER
    www.jerseyot.blogspot.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    63
    Quote Originally Posted by WolfSoul View Post
    I'm having excruciating burning pain in my groin, thighs, lower back, etc. etc. My doctor has diagnosed me with neurogenic claudication as a result of the hook of my harrington rod destroying the discs below it. He has prescribed a CT Myelogram (scared to death of that) and said that I may need to have the rod removed or the hook clipped off. My rod has been in place for 40 years! Has anyone had their rods taken out after 20+ years? What was the surgery like? The recovery? Did it help you with your pain? I need info before I consent to doing anything.

    Ty in advance for any info.

    Siubhal
    I had a harrington rod put in my back in 1980. In 2000, I had it removed because the screw (or whatever it is) at the top had come loose and it was causing me pain. The doctor who removed the rod thought he could just cut me at the top and pull the rod out, but that didn't happen. He had to cut me along the first incision and take the rod out that way. I was only in the hospital over night and the pain was bad, but not severe. It took a few weeks to get back to normal. I was 36 at the time I had the rod removed. I haven't had anything since and so far, am doing okay. I do have some pain, here and there, but it's not all the time. The last x-ray I had was probably 4-5 years ago and I remember the doctor saying that I only have one good disc left and that I shouldn't do any kind of aerobic exercise. I have wondered, though, if I should be doing some kind of exercise so that I don't ruin the last disc and to avoid any further surgeries. I wish you the best of luck!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,638
    hi Wolf Soul
    i reread posts you wrote from a year ago...you wrote back then
    that you were in bad pain....sounds like that has no changed, unless
    it has gotten worse...i am so sorry you are hurting so badly...
    i am sure Linda can recommend a surgeon skilled in revision
    surgery near where you live...
    i hope he/she can recommend something to address the pain
    you are in...i am so sorry you are suffering...

    scolio 1964
    i am shocked that a surgeon would think removing a rod
    would be so simple to do...
    i am also surprised that your spine is not severely curved,
    after having rod removed...
    it is wonderful that you are not in bad pain, especially
    considering what they have said about your discs...
    but i hope you have a good surgeon following you periodically....

    jess
    Last edited by jrnyc; 10-08-2012 at 01:25 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    23

    harware removal

    Hi:

    I had my Harrington/Wisconsin hardware removed ten years after my surgery because I was in a burning type pain and also I didn't like having the metal in my back. My surgeon estimated a three hour surgery, but the bone had grown over the metal so it took about eight hours. Yes, you will have to be cut along the original incision. It's a great feeling to have the metal removed and I don't regret doing it although I am still in chronic pain. But that had been the case since the original surgery.

    One thing that did happen to me after the surgery when I was at home was that I became very cold and shook constantly; it was impossible to get warm for a while. My surgeon didn't understand this reaction, but my physical therapist did. Apparently my body was in shock from the surgery and losing the metal. However, this soon resolved.

    I wish you the best

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