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Thread: recent surgery to remove rod

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    kentucky
    Posts
    2

    Question recent surgery to remove rod

    Hello everyone. I had my herrington rod put in place in 1985. This past June I was tackled by my soon to be ex-husband. I found out that week that my rod was broken. Not only was it broken but the "hook" at the top had popped out of place and was lying on top of my spine. There was pan involved. The doctors seemingly did not want to even consider admitting that the rod was probably broken in the attack. Their first answer was always that the rod broke 'most likely' due to pseudoarthrosis...or...non uion of bone. However, there was no non-union found during the removal. My doctor even "palpitated" my spine and could not find a non-union. I am seeking to learn more about the possibility of the rod being broken in the attack or anyone who has had an accident and their rod broken. Also, I would like information regarding what could happen with my spine in the future since the rod is gone. My doctor seems very hesitant to spend time explaining any details. Thanking you in advance.
    Rodless

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,794
    Lisa...

    I've heard more than one doctor say that NOTHING can break a rod except a pseudarthrosis. My understanding is that in the cases where stainless steel rods break, they act like paperclips. When the paperclip is bent back and forth at the same spot, it eventually breaks. I've played with all sorts of rods and can tell you that I certainly don't have the strength to even make a tiny bend in a rod.

    I know that's not the answer you're looking for, but I hate to see you spend a lot of time and energy trying to find someone who will tell you that a trauma can break a rod.

    Regards,
    Linda

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2

    Question Rod removal?

    Hi, my name is Heather, and I am 20 years old. I had my spine fused when I was fifteen, and right after the surgery, my doctor told me that he had accidentally left the rod a little bit too long at the top of my spine of my left spine. I experienced a little pain due to this for about a year after the surgery, but then it mysterously went away. However, about three weeks ago, it came back, so I now have pretty severe pain in my left shoulder area....and my doctor tells me that I have two options. I can either have the rod clipped, or I can have both rods removed. I know that not many people have the rods removed, but I was considering it, only because I don't want to have to worry about them forever. However, I know nothing about how long the recovery time for that surgery is, because I haven't gotten a chance to ask my doctor yet. I was just wondering if anyone had ever had their rods removed or clipped...and how their experience was....or if anyone has any advice at all about this it would be absolutely fantastic! thanks so much!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,794
    Hi Heather...

    I've known people who had their rods removed. The good news is that it's apparently a pretty easy surgery. I think it's usually only a day or two in the hospital.

    The bad news, however, is that removal of hardware can cause problems in the future. You can find the abstract of a study on the subject here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...&dopt=Abstract

    As you'll see, not everyone has a problem. However, once the problem of the rod length is corrected, it's unlikely that the instrumentation will cause future problems. (You could have future problems, but they would almost certainly be caused by the long fusion as opposed to the instrumentation.)

    Good luck.

    Regards,
    Linda

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    2
    Do you think that my fusion could still possibly collapse or have problems even if my surgery was three years ago and my doctor said that the fusion was perfect?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,794
    Hi Heath02...

    There's no way for anyone to know for sure if your fusion is truly solid. There is a scan (a tomogram), which is supposedly the best diagnostic test for looking at fusion, but not even it is 100% accurate. And, unfortunately, it involves a lot of radiation exposure.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd probably try to have the one rod cut down to see if that resolved my pain before having all of the hardware removed.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Regards,
    Linda

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