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Thread: Update on broken rod

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Huxley, Iowa
    Posts
    190

    Update on broken rod

    Hi all,
    Sorry I am not around much anymore. Sitting, again is getting rather painful, and most days I am trying to keep busy as much as possible as part of my pain coping mechanism.

    I'll be having another surgery to replace the broken rod, and to change the type of the rods to vitallium. I have checked with other surgeons, and thus far everyone is on board with this. There was an area of non-fusion around L4 and L5 that resulted in the break. The popping and grinding is pretty unbearable. In the last few months I have gone from being able to walk ten miles or bike (on a cruiser style bike on a paved bike path...no mountain biking) 20 to 30 miles a day to less than 5 biking and 1 mile walking. Its pretty depressing. I was feeling so good in May before breaking it in June, so I am really hoping to get back to that.

    Other than that, nothing else to report. I hope everyone else is doing well!
    25 years old
    double 70+ degree curves before surgery
    Anterior on 11/11/08
    Posterior on 12/2/08 with titanium rods
    nearly perfect correction
    fused t-10 to pelvis
    with a hemi-vertebral osteotomy at L4

    Broke right rod at L4-L5 on 06/26/09
    Broke left rod on 10/24/09
    Revision surgery on 11/5/09 with vitallium rods
    Broke both rods again

    Had posterior than anterior revisions on 03/11 at the Twin Cities Spine Center
    Declared "FUSED" on 12/6/11

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Posts
    455
    FLT,

    I'm so sorry to hear your having such a difficult time with things. I can't even imagine dealing with broken rods or how uncomfortable and painful it is. Try and hang in there and good luck. Any idea as to when your next surgery will be? I will certainly be keeping my fingers crossed for you! Take care.
    Susan

    Diagnosed at 10, Boston brace from 11-13 yrs old.
    50* Lumbar w/ 5 centimeter shift to the left and slight rib hump...
    Surgery Date: April 15 and April 22, 2009
    X-LIF approach for disc repair L5,L4,L3,L2
    Posterior Approach for fusions L5-T5
    Dr. Fox @ Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
    Nice and straight now!!!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    Hi Fierce
    thanks for writing back to me with P.M.

    what kind of metal did you say they will use to replace the rods?? my surgeons are debating stainless steel vs. titanium....

    ..it sounds like everyone agrees with the plan, & that is comforting, so you know you will be doing the right thing...please let the forum know when the surgery is, so we can all keep you in thoughts & prayers!

    bet of luck
    jess

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
    Posts
    3,263
    That's bad news, Fierce. Did your surgeon give any idea why you didn't fuse properly in that area? That's my only concern now, am I fusing and am I doing anything that may prevent fusion in some area.

    From my reading here, replacing a broken rod is a much lesser surgery than your original so at least you're not facing that again.

    Keep us informed, when you're able. I hope it's not long before you get your surgery. Hopefully then, things will work out much better. Do you know if they'll use BMP?
    Surgery March 3, 2009 at almost 58, now 63.
    Dr. Askin, Brisbane, Australia
    T4-Pelvis, Posterior only
    Osteotomies and Laminectomies
    Was 68 degrees, now 22 and pain free

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Huxley, Iowa
    Posts
    190
    jrnyc- They are using Vitallium to replace the broken titanium.

    asccbodypro- I will find out when they have scheduled my surgery for by the end of this week

    JenniferG - They said its nothing I did, I had a LOT of work done around that area. I had a vertebrate removed at that level, as well as some building up of the sacrum (it was deformed). They will be using BMPs again. The rest of the fusion is near 100%, the part around the break was around 50%
    25 years old
    double 70+ degree curves before surgery
    Anterior on 11/11/08
    Posterior on 12/2/08 with titanium rods
    nearly perfect correction
    fused t-10 to pelvis
    with a hemi-vertebral osteotomy at L4

    Broke right rod at L4-L5 on 06/26/09
    Broke left rod on 10/24/09
    Revision surgery on 11/5/09 with vitallium rods
    Broke both rods again

    Had posterior than anterior revisions on 03/11 at the Twin Cities Spine Center
    Declared "FUSED" on 12/6/11

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Wheeling, WV
    Posts
    1,105
    Hi Fierce,

    I feel so bad that a young, active person like yourself has to go through this.

    I hope your Doctor can help you soon. You are in our hearts, thoughts and prayers. I know everyone of us here would like to hug and comfort you. I wish you were within arms reach.

    Keep your chin up, I know it's hard, but remember God only gives us what we can handle... what a strong young woman you are!!!

    Hugs,
    Shari

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    4,117
    Hi Tiger

    I will ditto Shari,

    You know Pam (tejasmarinemom) has vitallium rods. Thats some tough stuff.

    I cant imagine what the popping and grinding must be like. That must be horrible.

    Sorry this had to happen. They will get you fixed up soon.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    Hi again Fierce
    i looked up that vitallium...said it has been used since 1932..i never heard of it before...wonder why it is not used more often in fusions...??

    meant to say...
    best of luck
    jess

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
    Posts
    4,117
    Jess

    My guess is that it is probably hard to bend........Pam would know.

    Titanium has excellent corrosive resistance. Even better than 316 stainless.

    Stainless does rust, you just cannot see it with the naked eye. Without a passivation process (nitric acid dip) it will rust.

    Pedicle screws are usually Titanium due to ossification. I read that someplace.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ossification

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 61, the new 61...
    Pre surgery curves T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
    Posts
    1,250
    Fierce Tiger--
    I'm so sorry you're going through this! Been wondering where you've been. Will this be the same doctor? I so hope this solves it for you and you will be back to a real recovery this time. Lots of thoughts of prayers coming your way. Janet
    Janet

    61 years old--57 for surgery

    Diagnosed in 1965 at age of 13--no brace
    Thoracic Curve: 96 degrees to 35 degrees
    Lumbar Curve: 63 degrees to 5 degrees
    Surgery with Dr. Lenke in St. Louis--March 30, 2009
    T-2 to Pelvis, and hopefully all posterior procedure.

    All was posterior along with 2 cages and 6 osteotomies.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    249
    That's a hardcore setback. Vitallium, now that sounds pretty cool

    A fierce tiger like yourself can take this, you will be back in the jungle in no time *roar*

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,745
    Ed..thanks for the info...

    Fierce..i hope this will be the last surgery you ever need, that it will do the trick, & relieve the pain for good!

    take care, feel better
    jess

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    1,445
    Quote Originally Posted by jrnyc View Post
    Hi again Fierce
    i looked up that vitallium...said it has been used since 1932..i never heard of it before...wonder why it is not used more often in fusions...??

    meant to say...
    best of luck
    jess
    Pam had said that it is extremely expensive compared to titanium and stainless steel, but very very strong. It was used on her because she is very active and plays softball and does a lot of sliding while base running.
    Sally
    Diagnosed with severe lumbar scoliosis at age 65.
    Posterior Fusion L2-S1 on 12/4/2007. age 67
    Anterior Fusion L3-L4,L4-L5,L5-S1 on 12/19/2007
    Additional bone removed to decompress right side of L3-L4 & L4-L5 on 4/19/2010
    New England Baptist Hospital, Boston, MA
    Dr. Frank F. Rands735.photobucket.com/albums/ww360/butterflyfive/

    "In God We Trust" Happy moments, praise God. Difficult moments, seek God. Quiet moments, worship God. Painful moments, trust God. Every moment, thank God.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Huxley, Iowa
    Posts
    190
    Thanks for the good wishes everyone! I have read that vitallium is 1.5 times stronger than titanium...I sure hope so! Actually, mostly I hope they slather on those BMPs thick and it fuses correctly.
    I should know the surgical date by the end of the week. :-) I am mostly just excited to get back to the way it was in May.

    I am going to try to weasel a bit of the broken titanium out of the doctor...I doubt it will work, but if it does I am getting that sucker cut down and wearing it as a necklace. haha.

    jrnyc- I sure hope its the last surgery I need! This will be number 5 (if you count the anterior and posterior surgeries separately), the first two were lipomas tethered around the spinal cord.

    A side note, just to be clear. There is no new screws being placed. Vitallium and Titanium are compatible. So that is fantastic news as far as I am concerned.
    25 years old
    double 70+ degree curves before surgery
    Anterior on 11/11/08
    Posterior on 12/2/08 with titanium rods
    nearly perfect correction
    fused t-10 to pelvis
    with a hemi-vertebral osteotomy at L4

    Broke right rod at L4-L5 on 06/26/09
    Broke left rod on 10/24/09
    Revision surgery on 11/5/09 with vitallium rods
    Broke both rods again

    Had posterior than anterior revisions on 03/11 at the Twin Cities Spine Center
    Declared "FUSED" on 12/6/11

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Butte, Montana
    Posts
    114
    Hi Fierce, butting in here, sorry! My 17 yr. old son Alex (Down syndrome little guy) has a broken rod. We see the dr. tomorrow. Alex appears to have difficulty getting in and out of the car, in and out of bed and at times pulling up his pants. Going down steps appears to "jar" him. My question is about the discomfort you feel. Alex is challenged a bit verbally and has an amazing pain threashold (he took no pain meds one week after surgery in 2005 ~ 14 vertebrae were fused). After reading this I need to clarify that I am wondering what kind of discomfort you feel. Sorry I ramble!!
    Last edited by Lura; 10-13-2009 at 10:05 PM. Reason: unclear question

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