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Thread: Indications for Partial or Complete Rod Removal?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    96

    Indications for Partial or Complete Rod Removal?

    Hi, I posted a thread some time ago that it hurt around the upper middle of my back and thought that maybe the hooks were irritating a nearby muscle. Well, now I have a new "symptom"/ I can feel the top of both of my rods, and they hurt, they hurt without even touching it, but i can see the rods on my back, especially the top because it sort of forms this bulge, and that area is very sore. Do doctors usually remove the top of the rod because of this? Because i would like to feel much better, and its really been bothering me. Also, how long would i be in the hospital, and does it hurt to have part of a rod removed? Thanks!

    Oh, and I have 2 Harrington Rods.
    ~Wanda~
    Age: 18
    40TL curve pre op
    Posterior Spinal Fusion with Dr. Pablo Marrero
    San Jorge Children's Hospital in Puerto Rico
    June 7, 2006
    post op curve: 16

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    1,974
    Wanda-- I am so sorry you are having these problems. I don't have any information for you though. Hopefully someone else will. I'll sure be thinking of you and praying that you will find the answers you need. It definitely sounds like you need to see your scoli doc. Best wishes.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    72

    rod, screw, hook, whatever removal

    i know what you mean. i have had a certain spot of pain since day 1 almost 2 years ago. i just recently started looking up removals. i am making another appointment with my dr. ASAP. i have had enough very rough days with this and if taking out a piece may help, then i need to investigate that option. good luck with your findings. i have seen many, many posts on removal, just put it in the search and they will all come up.

    Stephanie
    T11 to L3
    Rib Removal
    June 5, 2006
    Definetly doubting if i made the right decision

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Posts
    32

    Rod removal

    My last set of rods were removed in 2005, due to a car accident that had shoved the tops of my rods/hooks into my spinal cord which caused spinal cord damage. I was told in order not to go paralyzed, I would need half of the rods cut off or else total removal. I opted to get them totally removed, as I didn't want the same thing happening again in the future. I couldn't believe the difference in doing so and am glad that I chose to do so, regardless of all my other problems. I had suffered for years with the tops of my rods protruding, hurt to the touch and I could never sit back against a chair, etc it hurt so bad. (where they removed my ribs has never felt so great either) The only thing I notice (not counting my other problems) is that all the extra bony growth is uncomfortable. I, too, used to have the burning in the rods, as well as if I would step off from steps or there was a dip in the ground it would feel as though everything was being shoved into my spine and the pain was excrutiating. I always attributed this to all the cages in my lumbar. I'm not sure if your doctor will just remove the rods though, as my previous surgeon always refused this, even though they aren't even necessary after 1-2 yrs. All doctors are different and all cases of course are different as well. I would definately check into this, not only because they are uncomfortable, but God forbid you have an accident (rear-ended) like I did that would create further damage. Mine will last for the rest of my life.
    All the best to you!
    .................................................. .....

    1981-Harrington/Luque instrumentation T9-L5 for 30 degree thoracolumbar curve.
    1990-Revision surgery-Broken hardware/flatback deformity/pseudoarthrosis-Cotrel Dubousett instrumentation with extension into sacrum S1.
    1995-Revision surgery-Severe flatback deformity/kyphosis-Moss Miami instrumentation (T5-sacrum) with titanium cages (back/front/back procedure), thoracoplasty, total reconstruction with osteotomies.
    2005-Car accident-spinal cord injury from top of rods/hooks at T5. Surgery to remove hardware, with exception of cages. Permanent damage.
    2008-5th surgery pending for severe stenosis in cervical spine, as well as lumbar spine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    47

    rod removal?

    Hi Scoligal,

    I have had problems with my upper right shoulder blade region since age 14 (even before I had my 2 rods put in). I would describe it as a gnawing, piercing pain that almost goes all the way through me to the front. It kills me whenever I try to do dishes, type, go for a walk...pretty much any activity except lying down. So, I have been living with that pain for 10 years...since it came back not long after I had my surgery. Now though, my rods are starting to come through to my skin as well and they are VERY painful. They bulge as well in the upper part and the lower left seems to be poking out as well. Whenever I breathe in, my whole rods feel inflamed as well as the front part of me (ribcage, sternum area). I am in the process of going to see some new scoli doctors in Texas. I want to have the rods taken out but am very cautious about it, especially since I have done some research. There are spine journals I have found that explain how patients can definitely have recurvature if they rods are taken out. I am going to investigate partial removal. Let me know what you think.

    Age:26
    Scoli Fusion: 1998
    original: Thoracic 44/ Lumbar 42
    corrected to: Thoracic 12/Lumbar 28

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    6,801
    Quote Originally Posted by ScoliGal
    Hi, I posted a thread some time ago that it hurt around the upper middle of my back and thought that maybe the hooks were irritating a nearby muscle. Well, now I have a new "symptom"/ I can feel the top of both of my rods, and they hurt, they hurt without even touching it, but i can see the rods on my back, especially the top because it sort of forms this bulge, and that area is very sore. Do doctors usually remove the top of the rod because of this? Because i would like to feel much better, and its really been bothering me. Also, how long would i be in the hospital, and does it hurt to have part of a rod removed? Thanks!

    Oh, and I have 2 Harrington Rods.
    Hi...

    If you really have Harrington rods, that are only connected to the spine at the top and bottom, I don't think one can remove just a portion of the rods unless they're encased in a lot of bone. If the rods are connected at more than the top and bottom, then removing just the prominent ends seems like a pretty easy surgery. I think most of the people I've known who have had just a small section of the rods, or a screw/bolt removed, describe the surgery as very easy, with only a day or two in the hospital.

    Good luck.

    Regards,
    Linda

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