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Thread: Harrington Rods??

  1. #1
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    Jul 2005
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    Kent UK
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    Harrington Rods??

    In the summer of '91 I had a 2 stage procedure for thoracic scoliosis using Harrington rod/Luque instrumentation. Reading the odd post I get the impression this technique was rather "old hat" back then and other/better instrumentation was available. I wonder if this was correct? I realise that each consultant has there own preffered methods/techniques and would choose the most appropriate for the particular condition being treated but was I on the trailing edge of technology at the time. Just wondering

    Paul.

  2. #2
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    Oct 2005
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    I think you're correct Paul. I believe the newer improved instrumentation was already being used by surgeons here in the U.S. in the mid 1980s.

    Chris

  3. #3
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    Here in the UK, some of the older and very experienced surgeons were still using Harrington Rods up until at least 1994. I had my existing Harrington (placed in 1986) removed and replaced with a longer one when I had my fusion extended in July 1994.

  4. #4
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    The problems with Harrington rods were known in the late 80's. It took awhile for the new technology to catch on, especially outside of the US.

    Luckily for you, Harrington rods aren't all that big of a problem when used on the thoracic spine. Hopefully, you'll never have any big problem because of them.

    --Linda

  5. #5
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    I should mention that although my replacement Harrington went down to L3, it was contoured to fit the natural lordosis in the lumbar area, and was used in conjunction with anterior instrumentation to derotate the lumbar curve. I very much doubt my surgeon would have used a Harrington by this time for a patient who hadn't had previous surgery.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonibunny
    Here in the UK, some of the older and very experienced surgeons were still using Harrington Rods up until at least 1994. I had my existing Harrington (placed in 1986) removed and replaced with a longer one when I had my fusion extended in July 1994.
    If you don't mind me asking who was your surgeon and what hospital was you at?

    It's Hans by the way from t'other forum

  7. #7
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    Nov 2005
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    Yes I twigged it was you

    I was at the RNOH in Stanmore from 1976 until 1986, treated by Mr Edgar. Later on he moved to the Middlesex Hospital in Central London, so I had my second set of surgeries, when he extended my fusion, there in 1994.

    I seem to remember you saying you were under Mr Morley? He was a colleague of Mr Edgar's

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonibunny
    Yes I twigged it was you

    I was at the RNOH in Stanmore from 1976 until 1986, treated by Mr Edgar. Later on he moved to the Middlesex Hospital in Central London, so I had my second set of surgeries, when he extended my fusion, there in 1994.

    I seem to remember you saying you were under Mr Morley? He was a colleague of Mr Edgar's
    Yeah I was under Mr Morley at the RNOH but a Mr Taylor performed my anterior release and a Mr Marsh and Mr Hudson performed the posterior procedure. I didn't actually know this until I purchased copies of all my hospital notes/xrays, I thought Mr Morley done the whole shebang but I think this is quite normal practice.

    Paul.

  9. #9
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    Mr Edgar did all of mine (I've seen the notes) but I had infantile idiopathic scoliosis so it wasn't straightforward, and he mentions in the notes that my first surgeries presented him with "a very difficult case". Mr Edgar would have been assisted by several minions though and I'd imagine Mr Morley would have been there overseeing your surgeons' work.

    I had my second costoplasty (2001) done by one of Mr Edgar's minions (Mr Burgoyne) because that was a much more straightforward surgery :-)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Atlanta
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    I also have a Harrington rod with 3 hooks and some wires. No Luque istrumentation. Besides flatback, what are some of the other problems associated/ more common with harrington rods? I am asking becasue I am now having lower back pain. I have had a ct scan and find out the results Tuesday. However, my doctor thinks its arthritis. I'm only about to turn 26!
    Audra
    Diagnosed at 12
    42T, 52L presurgery
    surgery in 1994: fused form T1-L2, curves corrected to 25T and 25L
    infection leading to surgery and 10 day hospital stay w/ strong antibiotics 3 weeks later

  11. #11
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    Nov 2005
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    I don't think there are any other problems specific to Harrington Rods, apart from flatback. Remember, there are thousands of people out there who have had Harringtons put in years ago and have no problems today.....it's just those that do have problems that tend to need to find support forums like this one.

    I'm sorry you're having pain Ali. Is it possible that your discs are wearing above/below the fusion?

  12. #12
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    Jul 2007
    Location
    Atlanta
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    Thanks Tonnibunny! Thats a relief to hear. I guess, like you Paul, I was wondering why my surgeon chose a Harrington rod when new/better instrumentation was available and the possible ramifications.
    Incidently, my doctor suspects that the strain on my vertebrae right after the fusion has led to arthritis. X-rays showed nothing abnormal and pt didn't relieve the pain in my lower back, hence the ct scan. Now I'm just researching waiting for Tuesday. I am glad I found this forum!
    Audra
    Diagnosed at 12
    42T, 52L presurgery
    surgery in 1994: fused form T1-L2, curves corrected to 25T and 25L
    infection leading to surgery and 10 day hospital stay w/ strong antibiotics 3 weeks later

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3

    Harrington Rods Also

    I had my surgeries in 96 & 99. I think that the procedures that are selected are unique to your case. Have you ever actually seen the rods and screws? They are pretty narley. I had one removed in 99 and they let me keep my hardware. It is really cool but they look really invasive.

    All I know is this surgery saved my life. My rib cage was twisting so bad it was starting to crush my organs.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    14

    Harrington Rods

    I had Harrington Rods implanted in 1986. So far, I haven't had any problems with flat back or anything else related to the rods. I just think it's dependent upon the condition of the person, i.e. what kind of shape their back is in, and preference of the surgeon to use that particular type of instrumentation. That's just my 2 cents.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    385
    Hi Andy,

    My son just had surgery for congenital scoliosis. I'm so glad to hear that you are well & have had no problems since the surgery. We also knew about the potential for scoliosis @ birth but didn't receive/need (?) medical attention for scoliosis until he was 5. It's been ongoing since then so we are hoping this will be the end of scoliosis treatment for Alexander. I know he will still need to be monitored because he is still actively growing but I hope no more surgery.

    I just wanted to say thanks for writing because it is always reassuring for me to read about successful recoveries with no additional problems so many years after surgery. Esp. because your situation sounds similar to my son's.

    Take care,
    Laurie

    Mother of Alexander & Zachary:
    Alex is 16 years old and in the 11th grade. He has congenital scoliosis due to a hemivertebrae at T10. Wore a TLSO brace for 3 1/2 years. Pre-op curves were T45 & L65; curves post-op are approx. T31 & L34. Had a posterior spinal fusion from T8 to L3 on 7/12/07 at age 12. Doing great now in so many ways, but still working on improving posture.
    Zach is 13 years old and very energetic.

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