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Thread: Harrington Rod Problems after 25 years?

  1. #76
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    2

    Talking 1982

    I had the harrington rod back in 1982 and every year I get worse. It's hard for me to stand, sit or drive for a very long time. It seems the winter months are harder on me. I do stretching exercises and walk and seems to help some. But every dr I have went to tells me that in time it will get worse and more and more medication will be needed but surgery isn't the answer. He says my rod looks good.

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Geneseo, NY
    Posts
    133
    Jakki,
    Are you also doing back strengthening exercises in both prone and supine? This has helped me. This can be accomplished through physical therapy or yoga.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

  3. #78
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,795
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakki39 View Post
    I had the harrington rod back in 1982 and every year I get worse. It's hard for me to stand, sit or drive for a very long time. It seems the winter months are harder on me. I do stretching exercises and walk and seems to help some. But every dr I have went to tells me that in time it will get worse and more and more medication will be needed but surgery isn't the answer. He says my rod looks good.
    You can find a large group of people with Harrington implants, here:

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Flatback_Revised/

    --Linda

  4. #79
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    7

    rod pain

    I was doing fine also from the time I was 16 till I turned 30. Rigth at 30 I swear my back fell apart. I zonstantly feel like I am getting poked and pain also shoots down my right leg. I have had a very had time finding a doctor in Ft. Myers that will even look at me. I finally found one who has sent me to the University of Fl. Anyone ever hear of Dr. Jacobs? Is he any good? They say I now need my whole back fused which I am not happy about. I still want to have kids and live my life and not have "Black and Decker" controlling my every move!

    I heard on the news about spinal stapleing in children and I am wondering if anyone knows why they do not do it in adults. It sounds great, the surgrey is minimually invasive, fixes your curve and allows you to keep movement, all in a two hour time span. I am tempted to wait on getting my back fixed till this becomes the norm.

  5. #80
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,795
    Hi bamy...

    Welcome.

    Because of your prior surgery, you need to find a specialist who has a lot of experience in treating patients with prior Harrington rod fusions. I've never heard of Dr. Jacobs, so I'm guessing that he's probably not got a lot of experience in this area. Would it be possible to see Nate Lebwohl in Miami or Anthony Moreno in Tampa?

    If you're interested, you can find a large community of patients with Harrington rod fusions, here:

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Flatback_Revised/

    While you may or may not have flatback (a condition often associated with Harrington rods), you'll still find a lot of great information there.

    As to your question about stapling, it is a procedure that is used in place of bracing in some children. It works by affecting the growth plates. Since your spine is already skeletally mature, stapling would have no effect. (It doesn't really correct curves. It just keeps them from progressing during growth.)

    Regards,
    Linda

  6. #81
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    7

    fixing curves

    I looked into the stapleing case here and it said that the girls curve went from 40 to 2, and it is now been proven to fix the curve along with allowing you to continue to grow/move.

    Thanks for the manes of those doctors, I will see if they take my insurance.

  7. #82
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    2

    Trouble after 38 years

    Everyone -

    I have been researching sites on Harrington rod's lately because after 38 years I am having chronic pain. I stumbled across this site and was actually taken aback as to how many people are having the same issues. I have to admit it freaked me out a little, hearing about rods slipping, cracking, coming loose at the clamps, etc. I guess I've been pretty lucky so far as I had my rod implanted when I was 12 in 1972. At the time, the procedure was still very new but by the time I was seen by a doctor, my curve was 75 degrees so I did not have the choice of being put in a brace. My experience sounds like alot of others, traction, surgery, flat on my back for 6 weeks then put in a body cast for 10 months. My parents found a wonderful doctor at National Orthopeadic Hospital (Anderson Clinic, Dr. Engh). After surgery I was corrected to 34 degrees and have been quite healthy even through my child's birth (other than back labor)! Now at 50 I am experiencing quite a bit of lower back pain (I stll have a curve at the bottom). It has been very hard finding a doctor to treat me as there are few who deal with adult scoliosis. I eventually found a pediatric scoliosis doctor who said that he has treated about a dozen women in my age bracket who are experiencing my type of symptoms, pain, burning in the right butt cheek and down my right leg. My rod seems fine and is still in place after many tests, mylogram, MRI's, etc. However, he did diagnose me with "flatback syndrome", which I had never heard of before and recommended that the old rod come out and new titanium rods put in. Needless to say I am pretty freaked out as you all know, my experience at 12 was not pleasant. But the procedure today is quite amazing I'm told. Only 3-4 days in the hospital and 6 weeks of sedendary living. I was so freaked, I tracked down my original surgeon and even though he isn't in that field anymore, he referred me to his colleague and I'm getting a second opinion, but I fear that I will have to take this journey. It is very true that if you exericise and keep off the weight, especially around the middle, it helps tremendously. I am fortunate that I love to work out and have done so most of my life so maybe that is part of the key to why I haven't experienced more discomfort earlier. So those of you out there that are still young and just starting to feel these things, please exercise and stay active, as I know I hurt more if I don't. I will keep everyone posted as to my second opinion and if I have to take the next step. Good luck to all of you in the same boat!

  8. #83
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Geneseo, NY
    Posts
    133

    My rod is older than your rod......

    Hi Mary,
    I always get excited by posts from people whose age and fusions are anywhere near mine. I have leg and foot problems, but nothing so severe as to warrant surgery. I am fortunate that my fusion is thoracic, which is less prone to the "flatback" problems. Welcome, and keep us posted, we are all rooting for you.
    1966 fusion in Buffalo of 11 thoracic vertebrae, with Harrington rod

  9. #84
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,795
    Quote Originally Posted by Mary K. View Post
    Everyone -

    I have been researching sites on Harrington rod's lately because after 38 years I am having chronic pain. I stumbled across this site and was actually taken aback as to how many people are having the same issues. I have to admit it freaked me out a little, hearing about rods slipping, cracking, coming loose at the clamps, etc. I guess I've been pretty lucky so far as I had my rod implanted when I was 12 in 1972. At the time, the procedure was still very new but by the time I was seen by a doctor, my curve was 75 degrees so I did not have the choice of being put in a brace. My experience sounds like alot of others, traction, surgery, flat on my back for 6 weeks then put in a body cast for 10 months. My parents found a wonderful doctor at National Orthopeadic Hospital (Anderson Clinic, Dr. Engh). After surgery I was corrected to 34 degrees and have been quite healthy even through my child's birth (other than back labor)! Now at 50 I am experiencing quite a bit of lower back pain (I stll have a curve at the bottom). It has been very hard finding a doctor to treat me as there are few who deal with adult scoliosis. I eventually found a pediatric scoliosis doctor who said that he has treated about a dozen women in my age bracket who are experiencing my type of symptoms, pain, burning in the right butt cheek and down my right leg. My rod seems fine and is still in place after many tests, mylogram, MRI's, etc. However, he did diagnose me with "flatback syndrome", which I had never heard of before and recommended that the old rod come out and new titanium rods put in. Needless to say I am pretty freaked out as you all know, my experience at 12 was not pleasant. But the procedure today is quite amazing I'm told. Only 3-4 days in the hospital and 6 weeks of sedendary living. I was so freaked, I tracked down my original surgeon and even though he isn't in that field anymore, he referred me to his colleague and I'm getting a second opinion, but I fear that I will have to take this journey. It is very true that if you exericise and keep off the weight, especially around the middle, it helps tremendously. I am fortunate that I love to work out and have done so most of my life so maybe that is part of the key to why I haven't experienced more discomfort earlier. So those of you out there that are still young and just starting to feel these things, please exercise and stay active, as I know I hurt more if I don't. I will keep everyone posted as to my second opinion and if I have to take the next step. Good luck to all of you in the same boat!
    You might want to check out this forum:

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Flatback_Revised

    You'll find a lot of people who have had the same issues.

    Regards,
    Linda

  10. #85
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    2

    Follow up on second opinion

    Hi All.

    Well I went for a second opinion and after another series of x-rays, MRI and epidural block, the Doctor said that he agreed with my original diagnosis of flatback syndrome, but didn't think that was causing my lower back pain. The rod is thankfully still in tact. However, he found at L-5, S-1 that 2 vertabre are out of alignment and the disc is bulging. He said surgery may help but it was no guarantee. So now I'm at a loss. May go for a third. I know you all know how it feels to have something wrong/chronic and acute and no one seems to know what to do.

    Oh, by the way, if I do have surgery for the L-5, S-1; he wants to go through my belly. Have you ever heard of such a thing! Maybe he can give me a tummy tuck while he's at it! LOL

    Anyway, now I'm at a wait and see. I'll just stay on my meds and figure out what to do next. And, the Doc doesn't like me on daily meds; wants me to only take it when it is really bad. Wow, I wish for one day they could feel what I feel.

    Maybe a third opinion is the way to go.

    Everyone take care, and keep the advice and shared experiences coming. It really helps. Too bad we are located all over the place. Wouldn't it be fun to have a Scoliosis party!

  11. #86
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,795
    Quote Originally Posted by Mary K. View Post
    Hi All.

    Well I went for a second opinion and after another series of x-rays, MRI and epidural block, the Doctor said that he agreed with my original diagnosis of flatback syndrome, but didn't think that was causing my lower back pain. The rod is thankfully still in tact. However, he found at L-5, S-1 that 2 vertabre are out of alignment and the disc is bulging. He said surgery may help but it was no guarantee. So now I'm at a loss. May go for a third. I know you all know how it feels to have something wrong/chronic and acute and no one seems to know what to do.

    Oh, by the way, if I do have surgery for the L-5, S-1; he wants to go through my belly. Have you ever heard of such a thing! Maybe he can give me a tummy tuck while he's at it! LOL

    Anyway, now I'm at a wait and see. I'll just stay on my meds and figure out what to do next. And, the Doc doesn't like me on daily meds; wants me to only take it when it is really bad. Wow, I wish for one day they could feel what I feel.

    Maybe a third opinion is the way to go.

    Everyone take care, and keep the advice and shared experiences coming. It really helps. Too bad we are located all over the place. Wouldn't it be fun to have a Scoliosis party!
    Hi Mary...

    It's relatively common for patients who have had prior fusion surgery to have surgery on both the front and back of their spine. I think it's a good idea to go for a third opinion. There's almost certainly a reason for your pain, and it would be nice to know what that is before undergoing a major reconstruction. If possible, try to find someone who has a lot of experience in treating patients with prior fusions.

    Regards,
    Linda

  12. #87
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    18

    Arrow Harrington Rods

    I too am Harrington Rod post op and referred for more surgery although not in pain like you. It is because of the curve it caused. I originally had T10 to L2 fusion with rods. Due to being ran over by a truck in 1994 . Now facing T2 to Sacral Pelvis posterior/anterior. Any how they do slip. I met a woman who had the same doctor almost the same time as me and you could see hers rods petruding out toward her shoulder blade. Hope yours is not the case, but please get it checked. Mu doctor agreed part of my problem is Flatback Syndrome which seems quite common with T to L fusions.
    Last edited by Lotta51; 04-15-2010 at 07:35 PM. Reason: mispelled

  13. #88
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    23

    Harrington rods

    If there are any people here who posted on this original thread about Harrington rods, I would like to open a discussion about activities and pain levels. I would especially like to communicate with the lady named "Suzanne" who posted about doing sit-ups.

    Thanks and best regards,

  14. #89
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Yacolt, WA
    Posts
    1,525
    Quote Originally Posted by Cornerthree View Post
    If there are any people here who posted on this original thread about Harrington rods, I would like to open a discussion about activities and pain levels. I would especially like to communicate with the lady named "Suzanne" who posted about doing sit-ups.

    Thanks and best regards,
    Cornerthree: Find Suzanne's post and click on her name [think she's on page 2]. Then options appear. Choose Private Message and send her a Private Message. Good luck. 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

  15. #90
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    12

    Lots of Lumbar problems

    Quote Originally Posted by nina View Post
    Any one else out there who had surgery with Harrington Rod about 25+ years ago experiencing problems below the end of rod?
    I've read alot of posts with problems in lumbar spine area.
    Anyone having "stiffness" or difficulties standing up once seated?
    The feeling of something "catching" and not being able to straighten up?
    I've had no problems until about a year ago, but find if I do alot of walking it isn't as bad.
    I'm now 43 and am wondering if anyone has experienced this and found any good solutions. What works for you?
    I used to swim alot, but live in an area with no pools and very few gyms.
    Anyone out there have a back exercise routine they can share?
    Any suggestions would be helpful. I haven't gone to have any x-rays yet, so I have no idea what the problem is.
    You might try getting an exercise ball and just lying down on your abdomen to get a mild stretch on your lumbar area.
    I have had to get surgery on my lumbar region-not a good situation

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