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Thread: Got results, confused about rod removal??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913

    Got results, confused about rod removal??

    I have a broken rod, it's a year now. Did some nuclear tests last month(tomogram,etc) to see if there is breakage in my bone graft and I got my results yesterday. Bone graft is fine, no breakage for now, no arthritis as well and no infection. The doc gave me anti inflammatory pills b/c I still have pain and more so in the upper part, wich is worrying me. He told me that I have to live with my broken rod FOR NOW-unless pain gets worse- since taking it out would be one hell of a job and that even after I would get it removed, pain would be even worse in his opinion. I had my scoliosis surgery in '97, and some hook removal in '99 in the upper right part since I was in too much pain and it went well and fast recovery. I didn't know that only after 7 and a half years of having the scoliosis surgery that the fusion would make it SO hard to take hardware out, is this normal? He also told me that there is no danger of scoliosis coming back, I'm fused for life since that worried me. I had two Titanium rods put in, wich was another question of mine since I thought they were Harrington. He said that every two years, as far as medical use for surgeries, hardware changes and it can all break. I'm 34 now, and I will see him every six months or earlier if pain gets too bad.

    Anyway, I would like to know if some have had rod removal after a certain amount of years and if it went well as far as pain and recovery, also how long did that operation take Any answers would be appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Fernley, Nevada
    Posts
    352
    I think yu will find , if you go through some of the older posts on this site that thoses of us that have had our harringtons taken out faired well. Removale of the hardware is a lot easier than putting in . Also "Harrington" is the name of the type of rod...titanum is the type of metal the Harrington is made out of. Is your doc an ortho who regularly does adult scoli surgery? If not, that may be why he answered your questions the way he did
    SandyC
    SandyC

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    Oh, ok thanks. We did talk about a LOT of things and some of it was medical terms that were hard to understand. I did read some of the posts about rod removal, and I see that it's different for everybody as far as pain and time for the surgery, my guess is that the longer it's in, the harder it would be to take out. My doctor is a good ortho, and he does specialize in fusions although he's not the one that did my surgeries since that one left to go back to his native Switzerland, he came here to form some doctors. I guess I do agree with him and admire his cautiousness that it is better to wait as far as removing the rod completely b/c there could be complications, unless pain gets too much. He aso told me that for some people it is different since we don't all have the same type of screws put in, as some are harder to take out than others.
    Last edited by sweetness514; 05-12-2005 at 05:40 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    9

    Rod Removal

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetness514
    I have a broken rod, it's a year now. Did some nuclear tests last month(tomogram,etc) to see if there is breakage in my bone graft and I got my results yesterday. Bone graft is fine, no breakage for now, no arthritis as well and no infection. The doc gave me anti inflammatory pills b/c I still have pain and more so in the upper part, wich is worrying me. He told me that I have to live with my broken rod FOR NOW-unless pain gets worse- since taking it out would be one hell of a job and that even after I would get it removed, pain would be even worse in his opinion. I had my scoliosis surgery in '97, and some hook removal in '99 in the upper right part since I was in too much pain and it went well and fast recovery. I didn't know that only after 7 and a half years of having the scoliosis surgery that the fusion would make it SO hard to take hardware out, is this normal? He also told me that there is no danger of scoliosis coming back, I'm fused for life since that worried me. I had two Titanium rods put in, wich was another question of mine since I thought they were Harrington. He said that every two years, as far as medical use for surgeries, hardware changes and it can all break. I'm 34 now, and I will see him every six months or earlier if pain gets too bad.

    Anyway, I would like to know if some have had rod removal after a certain amount of years and if it went well as far as pain and recovery, also how long did that operation take Any answers would be appreciated
    I hope you are feeling better since your last post. I had a spinalfusion in 1979. Some years later the Harrington rod broke, it was not all too painful, however I did hear a lot of clicking on my upper back. The doctor (Hospital of Joint Disease), gave me the choice of keeping the rod in or taking it out. I had the surgery to remove the rod in 1985, so that was six years after the rod was put in. The surgery was not bad compare to the first. However they did find pseudarthrosis in the T-10 and T-11 and so I had a bone graft done at the site. The doctor did not mention to me at all that he had difficulty removing the rod. But what I liked was that he gave me the choice of having the rods removed, and I did not feel comfortable walking around with a broken rod, so I would probably do it again if I had to. Good Luck!

    Sonia
    spinalfusion 1979 (kings County Hospital in Brooklyn)
    Rod removal 1985 (Hospital Joint Disease)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    Thank you for taking the time to answer, it is always helpful

    As of now I am feeling the same, like you it is mostly clicking and some inflammation. The doctor told me that as long as the bone graft is fine and no pseudoarthritis, to try to wait it out unless I get more pain. He also says that since I do have much less pain since last year when it broke, that's a good sign. It took about 9 months for the HUGE inflammation to heal around it, wich was a cause of when the breakage happened. I too don't feel that great about having a broken rod, but when it doesn't click I try to forget it , and I know that there could be complications if I take it out, even longer down the road. Car rides are hell, with all the great bumps here I think when an operation is in question, it's good to take some time to see if the pain gets better, like when I had my first surgery it took me two years to "heal" and not feel all the screws as much, so it was a good thing that I didn't get more hooks removed like I wanted to and took the ortho's advice and waited it out. That's my advice to people, to see if something else can be done and have patience, unless surgeries are absolutely necessary. I also don't recommend scoliosis surgeries for curves that are under 40 degrees and not much pain.

    That's all for my rambling, thanks again for sharing your experience
    Last edited by sweetness514; 05-17-2005 at 06:54 PM.

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