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

  1. #1
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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 05:18 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
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    Chicago-"land"
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    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
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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
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    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
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    Northern California
    Posts
    6,801
    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
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    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.

  6. #6
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    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
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    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 05:20 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
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    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

  9. #9
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    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

  10. #10
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    What you should know about biofilm and implants. Written by 2 Podiatrists.

    “A race to the surface”

    My question being the prevention of “fouling” by the anodizing and or coatings of titanium.....which does inhibit bacterial adhesion. Some of our implants are “colored” and was wondering this biomedical question myself?

    In conclusion” it is evident that the science of biomaterial implantation and prevention of infection are not foolproof”

    http://www.podiatrytoday.com/what-yo...m-and-implants


    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

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by titaniumed View Post
    Susan, You have been very strong through all of this......
    Ed [and others], I try to be strong, but have moments of doubt and anger and frustration. I have shed many tears and said many cursing words not printable on the forum. Yes, I am a strong, determined woman, but I also wonder about my limits. I have seen the dark side of spine surgery and remember wondering if I would ever move my legs again. While I love my friends on the forum, it is frequently difficult being on the forum because frankly, I am simultaneously jealous and happy for all of the people who just have one surgery and no pain and live happily ever after. I was one of those people for 1 year and 5 months and I remember telling Irina, "I am glad that I am only posting in the "First Surgery" and not the "revisions" area".

    The only reason that I got on the Forum tonight was to see if Gayle's husband has posted anything. I could not find any news about her and I am worried.

    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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
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    Susan you are a strong women . But we are human and with strong feelings when we are in pain. That can be physical or other pain. You have faced one of the most challenging of complications and with an amazing amount of kindness to others. I really wish I could travel to meet you. So far I do not meet the qualifications to this club but I am a supporter.
    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

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Southern CA
    Posts
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    I wish that we could all meet in person as well.
    Melissa

    Fused from C2 - sacrum 7/2011

    December 8, 2014 - Another Broken Rod Surgery

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
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    Wouldn't that be great Melissa. We are already a part of each other's life. Meeting in person would add so much to the different things we face.
    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

  15. #15
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    reno,nevada
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    Quote Originally Posted by susancook View Post
    Ed [and others], I try to be strong, but have moments of doubt and anger and frustration. I have shed many tears and said many cursing words not printable on the forum. Yes, I am a strong, determined woman, but I also wonder about my limits. I have seen the dark side of spine surgery and remember wondering if I would ever move my legs again. While I love my friends on the forum, it is frequently difficult being on the forum because frankly, I am simultaneously jealous and happy for all of the people who just have one surgery and no pain and live happily ever after. I was one of those people for 1 year and 5 months and I remember telling Irina, "I am glad that I am only posting in the "First Surgery" and not the "revisions" area".
    Susan, your not kidding about the dark side.....you really had lightning strike you. I have never seen such a upper level kyphosis x-ray like yours. That x-ray really etched in my brain.....To see a spine make such an acute turn in one or two levels is devastating. Our bone, our brains, and our bodies are complicated. We like to think its simple, (oh, just screw it together and add some rods,) but it’s a lot more than that. For now, I guess that’s all we can do. I know you know this, I’m just reminding you.

    I don’t think its jealousy, its envy. Which is something that can be a struggle if you let it. If you can try to transfer or tip the scales of emotion to “happy” instead of “envious and happy”, that would be a better “healthier” scenario.

    I am a tad envious of some of the younger skiers that are out there these days, they really kick butt, but then I had my days, and many good things do come to an end at some point.....This acceptance of this is only one example I guess. I wish I had a young body again. I had a body of steel back in the day. Now, I have a beach ball. He he I have to be careful that it doesn’t pop if you know what I mean? In South America I simply point to my belly and say “bomba explosiva” which usually gets a few laughs. It is about the laughs you know?

    As far as scoliosis patients are concerned, considering the lifers, or anyone who has battled scoliosis for multiple decades, with or without surgery, I don’t think that there are many in the “no pain and live happily ever after group”. We have to go through so much, from the early aches, to the mental stuff, the rejection, the worrying, and try to hold our heads up high. Its something that I learned gradually, and it does take a certain strength and effort mentally to maintain all of this as we age living with scoliosis. There shouldn’t be envy amongst us because of our ever changing situation and our past and future struggles.

    Since my dad couldn’t walk and was in a wheel chair from ALS, I saw some of the things, the emotions that he battled. FDR also did it with his Polio or Guliian Barre......and in the movie “Warm Springs” he struggled, but the high points in that movie were all about hope. Even if he couldn’t walk, the pool scenes and the scenes with the kids were really inspiring. To become President and have to deal with the depression and World War 2, is a testament that shows that he did what he set out to do, regardless of his pain. Its something I think about a lot. Not the low points, the high points.

    Burt Munro played by Anthony Hopkins in the movie “The World Fastest Indian” stated that “everyone thinks that all us old buggers should curl up in a corner and die, but Burt Munro is not ready to finish yet mate” as he pops his nitroglycerin pill. His 1000cc motorcycle speed record at Bonneville still stands to this day.

    So how do I end this post? Maybe think only about the high points.....

    We are all strugglers here sitting around the table.....

    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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