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Thread: Membership in an exclusive club: The Broken Titanium Rod Club

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Yacolt, WA
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    Membership in an exclusive club: The Broken Titanium Rod Club

    Well, after 3 months of increasing sacral pain, I had my 6 month checkup with Dr. Hart. I figured that something was out of alignment in my back as my pain had changed in early July. A CT done on July 23 did not show anything abnormal.

    Well x-rays done last week show that......I broke ANOTHER rod! This time it was my Left rod in the L4 area.

    Unsure what will be done about it.

    What a great club to below to: The Broken Titanium Rod Club.

    So, calling other members! Do people just "live with the pain"? Is it inevitable that the other rod breaks? Why do rods break if it appears that fusion is good? What can be done to relieve pain other that surgery?

    Hercules Susan, breaker of titanium rods!
    Last edited by susancook; 09-24-2015 at 04:18 AM.
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Chicago-"land"
    Posts
    157

    Is it me or....

    Quote Originally Posted by susancook View Post
    Well, after 3 months of increasing sacral pain, I had my 6 month checkup with Dr. Hart. I figured that something was out of alignment in my back as my pain had changed in early July. A CT done on July 23 did not show anything abnormal.

    Well x-rays done last week show that......I broke ANOTHER rod! This time it was my Left L4 rod.

    Unsure what will be done about it.

    What a great club to below to: The Broken Titanium Rod Club.

    So, calling other members! Do people just "live with the pain"? Is it inevitable that the other rod breaks? Why do rods break if it appears that fusion is good? What can be done to relieve pain other that surgery?

    Hercules Susan, breaker of titanium rods!
    Am I recognizing Dr. Hart's name in broken rods? Never mind regardless, Susan, you will get through this! I don't understand broken rods either - perhaps I can do some research; my daughter has a background in Medtronics and other companies that manufacture these rods and screws and other crap they put in us.

    My particular surgeon didn't seem too thrilled with Medtronics - but perhaps you could investigate some yourself and find out what your surgeons uses and what other companies manufacture. I promise I will get back to you with anything I can find out about the product - rods.

    Best to you,
    Susan

    P.S. Nice to be in touch with you again!
    Susan
    XLIF/Posterior Surgery 6/16/08. Fused T10-L5 in CA by Dr. Michael Kropf (don't go there unless it's simple, I hear he's at Cedar's now). Very deformed, had revision w/5 PSO's, rods from T-3 to sacrum including iliac screws, all posterior, 5/23/16 with Dr. Purnendu Gupta of Chicago.


    Owner of Chachi the Chihuahua, So Cal born and bred, now a resident of 'Chicagoland' Illinois. Uh, dislike it here....thank God there was ONE excellent spine surgeon in this area.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Yacolt, WA
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    To another Susan: Thanks for your support and interest. I think that it is a coincidence that Gayle and I both are patients of Dr. Hart and both have broken rods. I have a lot of confidence in his competence. He is also compassionate, sometimes a rare commodity among highly specialized surgeons. I don't know much about various providers of titanium products. The rod that broke is from my original surgery in 2013 done in California at UCSF.

    Susan #2
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
    758
    Susan so sorry you are having another problem. Sometimes you just want to say enough already.
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    Fractured t-9 six days out of surgery
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    PJK at t-9
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    Removal of left side t6-t10. 8/14
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,795
    There's a price to pay for using titanium, especially in patients who are undergoing PSOs. Titanium is largely used because it makes MRIs more readable. However, it's quite brittle, and easily breaks under a lot of stress. I don't know how standard it is, but most of the surgeons with whom I work have started using satellite rods in the area of the PSO (2 rods on each side as opposed to 1 on each side), or have stayed with stainless steel for these patients.

    --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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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
    2,224
    I am so sorry Susan.

    It is not a club that one wants to join

    Melissa
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,525
    Melissa, thanks for your thoughts.

    Thanks, Linda for the information. I have an Inter-Stim implant for bladder control, so I cannot have an MRI anyway.

    We believe that my rod breakage is mostly due to my instrumentation P. Acnes infection and the loosening of the fusions that it can cause. There was one area of non-fusion that he noted on the xray in the lumbar area. Dr. Hart hopes with time that the antibiotics will catch up with the infection and my back will stabilize.

    My back stabilization was fortified with 4 short rods that are tethered together.

    Here's hoping with a prayer that I self-heal.

    3-rod-intact-1-rod-broken Susan
    Last edited by susancook; 09-24-2015 at 04:20 AM.
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    San Francicsco Bay Area
    Posts
    127
    ]There's a price to pay for using titanium, especially in patients who are undergoing PSOs. Titanium is largely used because it makes MRIs more readable. However, it's quite brittle, and easily breaks under a lot of stress. I don't know how standard it is, but most of the surgeons with whom I work have started using satellite rods in the area of the PSO (2 rods on each side as opposed to 1 on each side), or have stayed with stainless steel for these patients.
    Thanks for this info. I did not know this about Titanium. Could you please elaborate? A PSO is an osteotomy, right? I've received conflicting opinions, but it looks like the surgeon I've chosen will do osteotomies on me. Does this mean he will use a certain type of metal? Please explain. Thanks,

    --Linda[/QUOTE]
    1st surgery: Fused T1-L3 in 1987 with contoured Harrington Rods. Rods broke at top.
    2nd surgery: Re-done two weeks later; fused C7-L3. Left in chronic pain.
    3rd surgery: Hardware removal 1997, but still pain for 30 years.
    4th Surgery: Fused to the sacrum in 2016. Came out of surgery with left foot paralysis. (Drop Foot) Can't walk on my own.
    I'm blessed to have found my peace and reason to live not from a husband or kids (I have none) but from God and within myself.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,525
    Quote Originally Posted by jackieg412 View Post
    Susan so sorry you are having another problem. Sometimes you just want to say enough already.
    I hope that I can find some resolution to whatever lack of stable fusion that I have going on and stop my back pain. Being an "older person", I have osteoporosis/osteopenia working against me, although I am on Forteo and hopefully that will help my BMD. Each surgery is more difficult because of the scar tissue that has accumulated. I hope that the "enough already" comes at a time when I have more endurance to walk. My walking is mostly limited by leg strength from the spinal cord injury a little over a year ago as I walk through the pain most of the time.

    Thanks for your support. I get together most months with a support group of people with spinal cord injuries from this area at a local brew pub. Almost everyone else uses a wheelchair full time, so I feel lucky to be able to use crutches for short distances.

    I just want to get into the mainstream of life and be active again. Guess that's what everyone on this forum wants also.

    Susan
    Adult Onset Degenerative Scoliosis @65, 25* T & 36* L w/ 11.2 cm coronal balance; T kyphosis 90*; Severe disc degen T & L stenosis

    2013: T3- S1 Fusion w/ ALIF L4-S1/XLIF L2-4, PSF T4-S1 in 2 surgeries
    2014: Hernia @ ALIF repaired; Emergency screw removal surgery for Spinal Cord Injury at T4,5 sec to PJK
    2015: Revision Broken Bil T & L rods and no fusion: 2 revision surgeries; hardware P. Acnes infection
    2016: Ant/Lat Lumbar diskectomy w/ 4 cages + BMP + harvested bone + prayer

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    3,534
    Quote Originally Posted by susancook View Post
    I hope that I can find some resolution to whatever lack of stable fusion that I have going on and stop my back pain.
    I hope you do too.....your not fusing....

    There sure are a boatload of P Acnes studies out there! Studies on P Acne oozing from herniated discs is just one of them.....Some high numbers, I hate to quote sometimes...
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...40673600051096

    I have also read that blacklight or UV light kills this problem......and wondering if surgeons use blacklight’s or UV light upon discectomy during surgery? How do you get rid of it or prevent it during surgery?

    Remember the blacklight parties of years ago? Maybe its time to re-start that party up again?

    Susan, You have been very strong through all of this......

    Hoping you heal...

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 58, the new 53...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF 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

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