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Thread: Another broken rod

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana
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    Another broken rod

    Hello all.....I new to the site so I will give you a little background. They found my scoliosis when I was seven and had my first surgery when I was 11. The harrington rod broke and they replaced it when I was 13. When I was nineteen, I had developed a bottome curve so they went in and took the single rod out and replaced it with two rods and thirteen screws. Well, I am now 33 and found out Monday that one of my rods is broken. It happened sometime within the last six months. I have been having pain for a while and now am seeing a surgeon on Thursday to schedule my fourth surgery.

    My question is....what has changed since 1993? What type of rods are they using now? Any specific questions I should make sure to ask the doctor next week?

    I look forward to hearing from anyone with suggestions.

    Angie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Northern California
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    7,185
    Hi Angie...

    The implants are pretty much the same as what you had in 1993. I would, however, definitely question the surgeon about augmenting the new fusion with BMP (bone morphgenetic protein), which can really aid in fusion.

    Regards,
    Linda

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
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    68
    Linda, what causes rods to break? Or what do they "think" causes it?

    Arabrams, welcome to the group!
    Traction at 13, body cast 1 mos., Milwaukee, first plastic (severe allergy, abdomen skin burst, watery) then leather. Harrington Rod @ 15, 9 mos body cast, hips up. 9 more mos being careful and protective. Degenerated disc C4-5 I think well above the rod. Degenerated disc below the rod now? Probably.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2003
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    Northern California
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    David Bradford, who was widely considered to be one of the world's top surgeons told me that rods break because there is an area of non-fusion. Since then, I've had several surgeons confirm that fact. It can happen as early as a month or two postop to many years postop. To visualize this, I've heard many surgeons compare it to a paperclip that is bent back and forth many times until it finally breaks.

    --Linda

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
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    Linda. so is your thinking that the surgeons just "missed it" on the x-ray, with some people and what it might mean in the future? Have you challenged the doctors you've talked to?

    I know I had x-rays before I was "released" into the world and fusion was one of the things we eyeballed. Looked good. My doctor pointed out the success on the x-ray to myself and my mother.

    Stainless steel vs. titanium? Make any difference? Why did they give up on "wiring" the spine? That was the last thing I heard from Dr. Hurley (1979) about what they were doing now, experimental, no body cast, kids up in a day...

    Oh well, you can't know "every thing" right? What we DO know is that it isn't inevitable in all of us, e.g. first generation Harrington, or second.
    Last edited by ck43; 11-10-2006 at 03:38 PM.
    Traction at 13, body cast 1 mos., Milwaukee, first plastic (severe allergy, abdomen skin burst, watery) then leather. Harrington Rod @ 15, 9 mos body cast, hips up. 9 more mos being careful and protective. Degenerated disc C4-5 I think well above the rod. Degenerated disc below the rod now? Probably.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    2

    Thank you and another question

    Thank you all for your help.

    I am in Indiana, has anyone heard of Dr. Rick Sasso? I've been told he is really good.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Location
    Northern California
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    Quote Originally Posted by ck43
    Linda. so is your thinking that the surgeons just "missed it" on the x-ray, with some people and what it might mean in the future? Have you challenged the doctors you've talked to?
    Quote Originally Posted by ck43
    Stainless steel vs. titanium? Make any difference?
    Titanium is more brittle than SS, so will break faster.

    Quote Originally Posted by ck43
    Why did they give up on "wiring" the spine? That was the last thing I heard from Dr. Hurley (1979) about what they were doing now, experimental, no body cast, kids up in a day...
    I think because first hooks, and now screws, are safer and more secure than wires. Wires are still used in some situations, and are used extensively in third world countries.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    913
    Quote Originally Posted by ck43
    Linda. so is your thinking that the surgeons just "missed it" on the x-ray, with some people and what it might mean in the future? Have you challenged the doctors you've talked to?

    I know I had x-rays before I was "released" into the world and fusion was one of the things we eyeballed. Looked good. My doctor pointed out the success on the x-ray to myself and my mother.
    I have Titanium, and had a non union, wich was the reason that my rod broke, but my ortho says that he has seen broken rods in the OR and the patient's fusion was good and solid, but then again some say that some non unions can't even be detected in surgery. I know my Xrays and bone scans didn't show any non union, only when they opened me up did they see it. I also didn't have much pain for 6 years before the rod broke.
    35 y/old female from Montreal, Canada
    Diagnosed with scoliosis(double major) at age 12, wore Boston brace 4 years at least 23 hours a day-curve progressed
    Surgery age 26 for 60 degree curve in Oct. 1997 by Dr.Max Aebi-fused T5 to L2
    Surgery age 28 for a hook removal in Feb. 1999 by Dr.Max Aebi-pain free for 5 years
    Surgery age 34 in Dec.2005 for broken rod replacement, bigger screws and crosslinks added and pseudarthrosis(non union) by Dr. Jean Ouellet

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    68
    So what we really have here are answers not to be believed in, just guesses, theories, right? To believe in? Linda, I am not detracting from what you "know" I am just saying, ....

    Linda, that is silly. They are using a product known to break more often than stainless steel?

    I will ask my doctor 3 months hence because that is not a man to risk his reputation, or give me a b.s. answer and I will challenge him on it for all of you, and for me. On the other hand, I am no longer a child but a woman and a subject not an object anymore that things happen "to."

    I admit otherwise I am still cowed in the presence of the medical profession but I am getting better.

    Linda, you do fine. I do not mean to offend you. Just next time, challenge? Be our rhinoserous?

    In the future by the way? I don't need to know that my rods might heat during an MRI and I "probably" won't feel it. Why scare me? It was more helpful visiting the MRI facility and them telling me, we've never had a problem. Ever.

    It was great how the receptionists treated me initially as a "crazy" (the receptionists, not the tech) until a tech came out and explained different kinds of metal, non-ferrous Stainless Steel.

    Now schooch over and I will buy you a drink. Oh c'mon share a few laughs. You could use 'em.
    Last edited by ck43; 11-12-2006 at 07:18 PM.
    Traction at 13, body cast 1 mos., Milwaukee, first plastic (severe allergy, abdomen skin burst, watery) then leather. Harrington Rod @ 15, 9 mos body cast, hips up. 9 more mos being careful and protective. Degenerated disc C4-5 I think well above the rod. Degenerated disc below the rod now? Probably.

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