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Broken Rods two years after spinal fusion/ faulty hardware?

From: lela3423 - on 03/18/2011 10:02am

I'm a 29 year old active and healthy female. I shattered L1 in a skiing accident at 27. There is a T12-L1 fusion and a hardware system from T11-L3. I was told to let pain and common sense be my guide as to physical activity. I healed up nicely after surgery and find it easy to follow the correct back posture guidelines. A normal day of activity and I felt something snap in my back. All seemed ok except I started experiencing asthma attacks that would totally lay me up for a whole day or so but then would pass, a couple weeks later I felt another snap, but had not yet associated the snapping with the breathing problems. I finally buckled due to the breathing issues and got an x-ray discovering that I had broken both rods in my back. The integrity of the screws was not however compromised and it has been two weeks since the hardware removal and replacement. Has anyone so easily broken the rods in their backs? Is this normal I'm feeling paranoid about breaking the new rods, and wondering about faulty Hardware?

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on 03/29/2011 10:06pm

I had a burst L-1 fracture in 1998 after a bad fall where I managed to land just perfectly on a curb. The bone broke in 6 pieces, and was fused with two rods, four screws and some bone from my hip. (T-12 through L-2) I was told then that it was a permanent fixture to my body. It took me a year of hard physical therapy to even walk again. Although I have permanent nerve damage in my legs, I regained most of my function. After the initial injury, I was completely paralyzed from the waist down so I was very, very lucky to have gotten back the function that I did. Just recently, I had a CT scan as doc thought I might have a kidney stone. Urologist called me and reported that there was no stone, but the rod on the left is apparently broken. After researching some past scans, he said that it has been broken since the very first scan I had in October. I have been having some issues with nerves in my legs (and complications from a broken left foot.) Just wondering if this means it will have to be replaced? Will they replace all the hardware? Just like Lela (above) I am wondering if the hardware was faulty. Or, is this common after several years?? I sure don't want to have to go through what I did the last time. Anyone else had this happen?? Thanks.

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on 05/04/2011 8:33pm

My surgeon immediately replaced my hardware as it was causing major breathing problems for me. I felt each of the rods break!! He also informed me that the company should compensate me for this surgery but I am having difficulty finding help, or anyone else who has had this happen to them.

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on 05/09/2011 7:49am

Wow, I hope you don't have to go through this again.

My story is that I was in a nasty car accident on March 6th. A learner driver turned into our path leaving us nowhere to go and we hit her at about 45 mph/70klm. I broke L1 in two and fractured my coccyx. I hit my head and had 23 stitches to my forehead and ear; and am still getting glass come out of my face. It isn't fun but to be honest, I am just grateful to be alive.

Today is 9 weeks after surgery, I was told that I would have a cage fusion but post surgery I have two screws in T12 and two in L2 that anchor two rods that run parallel to my vertebra. This doesn't seem to be a cage fusion? I'm seeing the surgeon on Thursday, so I can ask him then.

I'm concerned reading your posts too, we are really keen skiers and I'm a bit horrified at the thought of breaking the rods. My husband has a Harrington fusion from T1 to L3 and he broke it at about T5 when he was playing hockey in his 20's. They removed the broken end but he didn't have another rod inserted.

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on 09/07/2011 6:34am

also consider that thing. being a paranoid is okay because it just implies that you are aware of the possible cause of the pain that you are experiencing. did it came to your knowledge about the hip recalled implants? take time to think things up.

asr hip recall |http://hiprecalllawyers.com

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on 03/22/2012 6:36pm

lela what kind of rods were your mine are stainless steel

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on 04/17/2012 7:13pm

hi lela my surgeon has concerns if i fall would prob break something he has me on a weight restriction 25 pounds did your fusion heal ok. good luck with the new rods.

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on 04/21/2012 2:16am

I understand how you feel about the broken rods. I have a Harrington Rod in my back that was implanted in 1992 when I was 15 years old. It has been broken for the last 10 years. The goal of my spinal fushion surgery was to make sure my back was fushed so my spine does not curve due to Scoliosis. I have not had this rod removed at this time. I am paranoid about falls and how things are placed in my apartment. I am on weigh restriction of 30 pounds and I am not allowed to ride a bike(stationary only) due to a risk of falling.

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on 04/22/2012 10:55pm

I walked around 4 years with broken rods no one belived me tell i grabed my doctors fingers and put them at the lower part of my spine and i began leaning forward and back and this meatal had been just steady grinding away at my spine... pain sux

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on 04/26/2012 5:08pm

lela im not a dr but im familure with the procedure i have a friend that is having his rods replaced today for the same reason they broke one above the disc and the other below the disc his came about from the hardware hollowing out the screw placement which allowed more stress to the rods than they could handle so i wouldnt say faulty hardware but metal tends to weaken with flexing and is possible for the rod to break at the weakest point of the spine which in tern applied more stress to the remaining rod causing it to also fail i personally wouldnt give up on the rods just have sergion keep a better watch on them through x rays

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on 04/03/2014 3:58am

I had fractured L4 L5 and walked around for 3 years until I could walk no more because I did not know I had fracture issue. Got second opinion from new Dr. Dr. put in rods and after a year pain has subsided somewhat. I can stand up straight again, but can only walk a few steps before unbelievable pain occurs. I also have RSD/CSRS and issue with L1 and L2. I have fallen twice since surgery and am worried about moving placement, bending or breaking the rods. I have stainless steel rods. The Surgeon's PA said I could not break the rods when I called them after the falls, but I am starting to have pain in groin again and numbness in left foot and left hand. I cannot have MRI due to spinal stimulator which I cannot live without. Can surgeon tell if rods were damaged in any way from the falls from an x-ray? Pain Management Dr. says numbness and pain in left hand and foot are not due to RSD, but I don't know what could be causing it. Also very aggressive weakness in arms, legs and torso. I am having instances of strong "electrical shocks" in arms and legs and sometimes cannot swallow despite best attempts. I don't know where to go from here. I don't know whether to go see neurologist or what. I am self supporter so I have no choice but to work. It is getting more and more difficult to concentrate due to pain. Has anyone experienced similar? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, : ~) NanaBe

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on 04/17/2014 11:33am

Oh boy this is all scary to me I was supposed to go in for a X-LIF surgery on the 29th of April, but when I saw the the neurosurgeon yesterday and was talking to him and explaining all the pains. he pulled up the x-rays that were taken before seeing him they change everything I am not getting surgery on the 29th now because of one pain I have all day it feels like I have appendicitis I was ct scanned with the milky stuff to r/o appendicitis probably spelt wrong but he has changed the hospital and waiting for the date and time and this has been going on now for almost 2 years. I originally declined the surgery 3 years before and continued to work as a mechanic I was certified Chevy tech. up in NY where my first pain dropping me to the floor and crawling up the stairs quite a few times but any way very long story I need this surgery now from the last T ? T12 to L5 and after reading all the posts I'm scared . scared sometimes to even walk. all the years of being a auto tech to my last small engine mechanic and heavy equipment job. I am waiting on now the VA Hospital in Tampa Fl to set up the surgery at Tampa general because they need more equipment+ to do my surgery and its my back looks like my spine should be severed. I am bone against bone where there is no disc left in L3 L4 L5. he said it was going to be a 2 part surgery Monday part ! Thursday part 2 Monday they go through my side to remove what's left of the discs and put in the x-lif implants and on Thursday install rods and screws. also he said it was a huge operation and asked if I was sure I wanted to go through it and I said if I didn't I would be screwed and Doc said no I'll be giving you the screws at least 6 of them. sorry for rambling on

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on 07/08/2014 5:52pm

Hi, I'm so sorry to hear your rods broke and I hope you are doing well now. I had a fusion (for scoliosis) when I was 13...23 years ago now! Apart from post operative I'd had never experienced any pain until a couple of months ago. It was the worst pain I'd ever had and I was bed ridden for a couple of weeks. The pain has since gone and I'm pain free now - have been for 3 months. I still decided to keep my appointment and was shocked when the consultant told me my rod has broken and I need surgery! I said I wanted to have children soon and was told to go and have as many kids as I wanted and to come back in a few years time!

I didn't feel any snaps like you however my breathing does feel more shallow. I haven't had any falls or accidents so have no idea how I managed to break it! How are you doing now? Did the op help with your breathing?

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on 07/15/2014 3:25pm

I had posterial spinal fusion surgery for scoliosis in 2001 when I was 16... About 5 years ago I had bent down to pick something up and heard a snap and felt the most pain I'd had since my surgery. A few doctor visits later I was told that one of the rods hadn't fused to my spine correctly and had made part of it weak, resulting in it breaking in the middle. It's fused up top, and down at the bottom, but the 6 inches that didn't fuse caused soooo much pain. I was prepared at the time to have surgery to correct it, then I found out I was pregnant. The surgery was put off, and unfortunately I had a miscarriage, but I had learned to deal with the pain. I've not had the surgery to fix it, and do not take any pain medicine (although I need it occasionally) and haven't had many issues with it since the initial breakage. I'm honestly scared to death to have the surgery done again, as it was incredibly painful the first time. I'm glad I'm not the only one that's had problems like this, and am happy to have found this website!

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on 08/14/2014 7:32am

Hi to the person who left a message on 07/15/2014. I'm sorry to hear about your bad news...I'm also scared to death about having to go thru the same surgery again! I have a CT scan fri 22nd August in London, the surgeons will be able to see exactly what's going on and what action to take. It's a bit weird to be honest as I'm not in any pain and have an excellent quality of life so can't see any pro's to having surgery at the moment but we'll see!

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