Compression Fractures Following Instrumentation Removal
I am writing this on behalf of my father, Mike. Ever since his initial injury in 1993, he has had, 7 fusions, ranging from T10-S1. All with pedicle screws and rods, along with bone graft. A total of 18 screws, and 4 rods. He had his last fusion of T10-L1, in July 2010. Around a month later, August 2010, he developed an infection so severe, that the doctor ordered a surgery to have the infection cleared out. It was successful, and the infection seemed to be gone. But, extreme pain continued, along with numbness, and unbearable pressure in the newly fused area (T10-L1). He then proceeded to seek another opinion, which led him to start seeing a new doctor in Indianapolis. That started in late October, and after several visits, the doctor concluded that a surgery to remove all pedicle screws and rods. Leaving only two titanium spacers between L1-L2. But, the doctor never said anything about filling the holes from the screws with anything. I felt a premonition about not filling them, but my dad assured me that there was nothing to worry about.
Then from Feb to the beginning of April 2011, he was feeling better than he had in 18 years! He felt like he could topple the world! But the optimistic feeling came crashing down quickly. The intense pain resumed, and a large bulge from the T10-L1 area appeared. MRI's hinted of another infection, AND two slightly compressed and fractured vertebrae (T12-L1) along with kyphosis of the thoracic region. He has been treated for the infection, and has been cleared. So, my question to all of you is, could the pressure from the infection caused the, already weakened, vertebrae to crack? I think of it this way; take a new block of wood (healthy vertebra), and stand on it, it will hold. Now, drill two large screws into the wood, throw it outside, and let it stay there for 16 years. Let nature take its course. Now, take out the large screws, and stand on it. Pretty likely to break, right? You tell me.