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Thread: rods broken !!! or should i say not fused!

  1. #1
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    Oct 2005
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    bloomsburg
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    rods broken !!! or should i say not fused!

    I had surgery 11 years ago and my rods never fused at the botton of the one. i have pain all the time my back is getting worse i had a 70degree curve at the top. you can feel the rod poking out of my back. i dont know what to do. my knees have been dislocating recently any one else have this problem?

  2. #2
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    Apr 2005
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    You may have to get surgery, and I would consult your ortho.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2005
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    California
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    Crystal,

    The same thing happend to me in 2000. I had to go into surgery to repair it. They are not sure how that rod broke,if it was from a fusion not taking or something else. Anyways, I had to go back into surgery and they repaired it. They also took out the remaining portion of the rods. Then after that surgery i started having terrible pain and have been for the last 5 years. I had another surgery in march of this year to take out the rods, then i had another one on 8/11 to refuse T-10-11. They said that i had a crack in my fusion there. Now i am facing another surgery in the beg of next year to continue my fusion to L-4-5 S1. Well what they didnt tell me from the beginning which im sure you are in the same situation that i may face future surgeries. I would defintly find a great ortho surgeon who specializes in scoliosis and talk about your options. I am almost positive that you will have to go through another surgery to fix this broken rod, i did. I would also ask if there is a possibility that in the future that they may have to continue the fusion. If that is the case you want to get it over with all at the same time and not go through 4-5 surgeries like i have. If i knew this 10 years ago i would have done this all at once.
    From what you have written i think you are going through what i have gone through. A broken rod is very painful and i know what you are going through. U need to get it repaired as soon as possible.
    If you need any advise or talk to someone i am here to talk to. Also what area are you in? I can recommend a very good md in california but i dont know if you are in cali.

    I hope this has helped you a little bit.
    Take Care


    Sarah

  4. #4
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    Apr 2005
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    Sarah,

    I'm so sorry about all the pain and surgeries you have been through You will get better, it will happen I'm sure, don't despair

    I do have a broken rod also, pseudoarthrosis(failed fusion and maybe even loose screws), and can't wait to get surgery, the pain has gotten worse in the last months, and it's been a year and a half since it broke. What they will do is take out the rod, and put in a new one. That's what I suggest to anyone who is in the same problem since the orthos are quick to want to just take it out and not replace them but in order for the new fusion to take that they will add, it needs a new rod. Also, we never know if we can develop a failing fusion later on so it's always best to have all our hardware in at all times.

    Good luck to you both.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2005
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    California
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    I defintly agree to have the rod put back in. Neither of my surgeons never suggested to not have the rod put back in. I always thought that is what everyone went through when they had a broken rod. I did have my rods put back in and taken out and put back in this last surgery. It is very true that the only safe way for a fusion to heal is to have hardware put back in to support it during the healing process.

    Why is it taking so long for you to go in for surgery? I cant imagine being through that much pain. I am in terrible pain however the pain that i experienced when the rod broke was so horrible that i couldnt even walk!! I would try to get this taken care of as soon as possible.

    Good luck and im sure everything will work out also for you...

    Sarah

  6. #6
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    Apr 2005
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    Some surgeons who are not thinking ahead will just put add fudsion where the rod breaks and leave the area without a rod, wich is not a good idea. Others will suggest that in case there is not pseudarthrosis where the rod broke and the fusion is strong, there is no need to put in a new rod, but again that is unlikely for the fusion to be strong when hardware moves or breaks so again a bad idea. I guess some just think for the moment and if we have more problems later, well we'll just get surgery again I am making sure that he puts me a new rod back in and checks everything as far as screws, and fusion, so that all is the same way after and strong.

    It takes a long time to get surgery here in Canada, b/c we do get free healthcare but they've cut a lot on the budget. Right now my surgeon can only do two surgeries a month at this hoispital(the best in orthopedics), as he's also a surgeon in children's hospitals. Since my ex ortho left, he's the best here. There are cases like hip replacement that are on waiting lists for over a year It's nuts. Some people have broken rods and don't even feel much pain, others do. I have had mine broken for a year and a half, but it took a year to see the breakage on the X rays. That first year, I had clicking and a sharp pain but since they couldn't see anything, they thought it was inflammtion. I did tell them that it popped really loud when it broke, and the hardware grinding inside should have been an indication for them though. Oh well. And they sent me to physio for months, made things worse

    I can walk not so bad, but since this summer it has gotten worse as far as pain and the rod is completely broken. Thank you for the encouragement

  7. #7
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    Aug 2005
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    California
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    I cant believe your doctor only does surgery twice a month. That can take forever for you to get in and for people who really need surgery like yourself, it can make the condition worst. I guess you cant to much about it like you said, you have free healthcare, and like me I pay a arm and a leg for mine.

    I wish you the best and when you have the surgery, I wish you a speedy recovery. Will this be your second surgery? I would give you some tips on how to have a speedy recovery, but i cant think of anything except alot of tv and fun magazines! Only time will heal!!

    Sarah

  8. #8
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    Apr 2005
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    Question

    This ortho is the best here and he's taking care of four hopsitals. He does revision, scoliosis(adult, teenagers and children), and takes care of other back surgeries. There are others who could operate on me but they're more beginners. The thing is, my original ortho left town back to his native Switzerland(he was frustrated with the system), and I would have liked to see him, as he was quick and only concentrated on adult cases. This one does two surgeries for children a week, that's why he doesn't have as much time for adults.

    I did have revision surgery after a year and four months post op, but it was a cakewalk, they removed a little hook at the top of my rod on the right side, it was touching a lot of nerves. It healed in a few weeks, and they only opened the top(about a few centimeters), plus I went in the morning and left that night. This is my third surgery then. I know healing is mostly time, I remember the original surgery was that for me. I did a lot of walking, some PT and some swimming, but those spasms and the bone graft healing takes times, and for some it's quicker than for others. I'm a bit more fit now though, I still exercise every single day and want to take the bull by the horns sort of speak a bit more now I also will be taking my iron pills as I was anemic the first time since I tend to be and that didn't help the healing/strenght.

    How about you, are you having your surgery soon?
    Last edited by sweetness514; 10-28-2005 at 02:15 PM.

  9. #9
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    Aug 2005
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    California
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    YES, I should be having my surgery in the beginning of next year. I would like to do it sooner but it will be too much on me. This last surgery was pretty rough. When i think of the next I get sick to my stomach. I am pretty tough considering i have been through 4 back surgeries and many other procedures like injections and rizotamies, but for some reason i am really nervous. They will be fusing L 4-5 S1 and my doctor says this is a major surgery and i will be out for at least 2 months up to 6 months. My last surgery i was off work for 1 1/2 months. Also with this surgery, I probably wont have my job anymore. I am a respiratory therapist so i can go work in the hospital if i need too. It is very hard to stand for 12 hours though, so i would prefer where i am right now.
    I know i need to have the surgery soon. I will just continue the way i have been for the last 5 years if not. The frusterating thing is i get discouraged b/c after every surgery i have had, they say you will get better and this will take away your pain, but it hasnt. Call me crazy, but i dont want to continue being a ginnie pig and go through surgeries until they finally figure it out. I know backs are very complicated and my case is even more complicated. They cant see anything on the x-rays, mri, ct scans they are just guessing!! So i just have to have faith in my dr and go with his knowledge on what he thinks. I will be getting a 2nd and 3rd opinion before i go through this surgery from other excellent ortho md's.
    Anyways, I hope it turns out ok for me and i know once you have your surgery hopefully you will be out of pain. Know one knows back pain (True backpain) until they experience something like scoliosis!!

    Take care,
    Sarah

  10. #10
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    Apr 2005
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    If your pain is mostly from your lower region, and down your legs, I would say that fusing the lower portion would help. I know what you mean about the back being so complex, I have found some orthos that have helped me for some pains when I had been searching for an aid for years, and then for other things they were not helpful at all. Sometimes it's hard to find just what the problem is, but you getting more than one opinion is the right idea. I also have been dealing with pain on some pretty high levels, not just for my back but with other areas and sometimes I think I can't take no more. The truth is mostly I don't WANT to take no more, hehe. I guess one gets fed up at some point, it's normal

    I also wish you a pain free future an it was nice talking to you, best of luck an take it easy(as much as you can)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Illinois
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    151

    Cool Crystal

    I had surgery 1 year ago for a 56 degree curvature. Two rods and 17 screws put in. I had two surgeries two days apart. I was in the hospital 8 days. I wore a full brace for 6 months, 23 hours a day. After I got my brace off I had a screw come loose and pushed a rod out. The pain was unbearable. I went back to the Dr. for my yearly checkup and he said the rods and screws neede to come out. He assured me that I was fused enough that I could leave the rods out. I asked him if I would get the curvature back and he said not likely.
    Ihad the rods and screws removed in Sept. of this year. I was in the hosp. 1 day. I went back to the Dr. in two weeks to have the staples removed. He said my curvature was back and I was not fused completely. He said I would have to have the rods and screws put back in. This time longer rods down 2 more vertebraes and more screws put in. I had that done on Oct. 14. I was in the hospital 3 days. I went and had my staples removed and the Dr. was pleased with my progress. He said everything looks great. I have some hip and groin pain but maybe that is normal during my healing process.
    I would never have my rods taken out again with out absolutely necessary.
    Think it over long and hard, it is a hard decision to make. I am sure you will make the right choice.

  12. #12
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    Apr 2005
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    Mattie,

    so glad you're doing ok, it's encouraging for someone like me and I did think about you and wondered how you were

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Illinois
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    Quote Originally Posted by sweetness514
    Mattie,

    so glad you're doing ok, it's encouraging for someone like me and I did think about you and wondered how you were
    I am doing OK. I think about the people on this site. It is good to be able to communicate with people who have an experience like mine. You just don't find that in everyday conversations with your friends. I am glad their is a place like this. It sure is encouraging. My Dr. said it was uncomon for people to have problems with the hardware or surgery. I find out now it is more common than he thought. I told him about this web site and he was a little shocked at how common these problems are. He encouraged me to talk to people about my problems.
    Hope you are doing fine also.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    I find it bizarre also when some orthos or even people think that it's uncommon for people who have had back surgeries to have any type of problems later on, as well as revision surgery. I know about 4 or 5 people IRL who have had surgery for scoiosis at different ages, and they all ended up having some sort of problem or surgery again. Guess the orthos should be telling us some of these risks before hand, it would make it less shocking and easier to accept, in my case anyway. I read that about 1 out of 5 of people who have had fusions have their hardware break, and that's not even counting the ones who don't find out, as some don't experience much pain. Then about 40% of adults who get fusion don't fuse all properly, that's a lot.

    Anyways, hope you heal fast and as for me, still waiting for surgery.
    Last edited by sweetness514; 11-01-2005 at 02:18 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    14

    Smile

    I had my fusion in July 1981 my Harringtion rod broke a screw at the top came away and it started to bend but it didn't show up on the xray until 4 months later i had no pain at that time. I had the rod replaced the following november and 3 months later i was in a lot of pain one of the screws came away i had to have rod removed in february 1982. I had disc trouble soon after and now i have a worn facet joint. I get pain from time to time but I have managed to push through the pain. I no longer have a rod.
    MOB

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