SpineUniverse Community Advice
Get help and share your story with others who know what you're going through.
Please register or log in to join the discussions!

Titanium hardware started breaking immediately after surgery. Anyone experienced this?

Started by TitaniumMan on 03/23/2020 5:36pm

Six months ago (September 2019), I had S3-T10 fusion done. Biggest regret of my life. I would rather have walked around with a trainwreck spine than deal with the nightmare surgery left me.

I am a healthy 45 yo male, and a long time gym enthusiast/bodybuilder - so my weight of 275 at 6'3" is muscle, not fat. For 2 years, I went through a whole battery of tests to be sure I was a good candidate for a tri-level fusion. I was told that it was a big surgery, but since I was strong and healthy there was almost no risk of complications. I was never told how easily titanium can break.

23 hours after my initial fusion while lying in the hospital bed, a pedicle screw broke. Within hours the Nellis AFB hospital opened me up again for an emergency "repair" surgery. I went from 12 pieces of titanium to 36 - which the surgeons did not tell me they were going to do. That was September 2019. Now 6 months later, I have 4 more broken screws in my spine and the cage rods have come loose at the bottom. That means every time I move, the rods slide around and I can feel it like someone is ripping my flesh off. I've been given buckets of gabapentin. Physical therapy won't touch me because of all the broken hardware.

Now, no surgeon will touch this mess while I try and figure out what to do. The only medical advice I've been given is "deal with it." The surgery also caused very painful RSD in my left foot....which is un-curable nerve damage. I feel like my life is over. I don't really want a 3rd surgery within 6 months, but I don't know that I have many options. I certainly do not want the Air Force Base to do another one, but who can I really trust at this point?

"This sucks worse than anything that has sucked before." - Butthead

Do you find this discussion helpful?

2 Responses


Look for a Neurosurgeon that works at a "Level-1" Trauma Center. That's where Patients come in like Humpty Dumpty and go out looking like Superman.

A good Trauma Neurosurgeon won't wlk away from you as that is what they do.

Scripps La Jolla(San Diego, CA.) is a good start.


How are you today?

You can lean on my shoulder. I'm going in next week for posterior. Not happy.

I don't regret the 1st surgery, but I'm thinking I may regret this next one.

But my surgeon is the best in my state. Voted by his patients. So I feel trust in this doc.