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Broken titanium screw

Started by McMedic0317 on 05/30/2014 1:03pm

I am a 33 year old male that had L-5 S1 fusion due to spondylolthesis the end of March 2014. They placed 2screws and a rod on each side and went in through the front and placed a bone cage held with 2 titanium screws. Two months post op an X-ray shows one of the titanium screws holding the bone cage has snapped mid shaft. Doctor said he has never seen this. Is this a common thing to happen so soon after surgery?

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First one that I hear of.. can you post the x-rays? Are they going to do a repair? How you have a warranty?

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I don't have a picture of the X-ray and am not sure of warranty. The surgery was preformed because of a work injury. My doc says three weeks of physical therapy and more X-rays to see what it does. But it snapped right in the middle. I've read about screws breaking at the head of them but not in the middle. The rays last month didn't show the break or it just wasn't visa me yet. The screw was put in correctly and flush with the bone.

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Well good luck, on W/C. In my state (NY) they are very tough to deal with. I am no on it..I have good insurance and it cover all of my expensive.
If it is what you say the x-rays should clearly show it. I would be assertive and make sure the problem is corrected. Get the medical records that are created from your doc and the disk and reports. You should not have to endure this problem. Good to keep all documentations that you can. In-case it does not go in your favor ..change drs or seek legal advise. I know of some W/C cases that are like that.

Be PREPARED. CYA..

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Yea W/C is really horrible. I do have a lawyer on the case and if it wasn't for him it would be even more horrible. It's hard now I have small children and I can't lift more than 15lbs. Has anyone ever gone after the screw manufacturer for damages?

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Good question- put theses terms in Google "any lawsuits on Broken titanium screw" I think you will get some reply's.

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I know "EXACTLY" what you are going through!

Except my operations were April 2013 & consisted of C4-C7 Anterior & C4-T1 Posterior.
The 2 screws @ the T1 level broke on me at mid-shaft as well.
I am currently waiting for the set-up of a MRI to get done then having a dual appointment with my Neurosurgeon & Ortho-surgeon in Louisville, Ky,
I knew something wasn't right at one point because I was having new symptoms on my right & left sides. Where as before was all left sided.

Keep us updated & I will do the same.
Also do you happen to know the manufacturer? I do have mine. But will PM you later. Don't really know the site rules on posting names & sites here just yet.
Plus would like to do more research on them.

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I didn't think something was right either because I started having severe pain at the hardware site. I don't know the manufacturer yet but I am going to find out.

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Good move..boy scout "Be prepared" "cover all bases" "CYA" do the foot work for the lawyer.. less time for him so he can spent the time researching the manufacturer.

I have a personal interest in the finding as I just came from the Spine Surgeon office - reviewing MRI told me I have a bad disk .. he sent me for x-rays to determine if he does surgery to go in front or back.
Had the x-rays done after appointment waiting for Dr.'s review and determination.

I expect if he decides yes.. and I agree... there will be some screws and disk(s) used.. so I just want to get what ever information on the screws problems so I am well armed and make sure I don't get the same manufacturer..

Please keep us updated... good luck!

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I have been doing some research & have seen anywhere from 1% to as high as 10.3% on hardware failure rates.
I went to the FDA site & started poking around. One word you will see quite often there will be:

"MAUDE" - Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience
This is usually followed by a report of a medical device that was found to be defective or such. Anyone can related to the device can make a report. Whether a Patient,Doctor,Manufacturer et cetera.

Also you will want to do this ASAP!
1.Go to the "Medical Records Department" of the hospital of facility that the surgery was performed. You want to get ALL of your medical records including operating reports.

2.Go to the "Radiology Department" & get all of your X-rays,CT Scans, Myelograms, MRI's et cetera for this as well.

3.Also on a separate CD if possible have them them put all of you complete radiology on one too. You don't necessary want to provide all of your reports & images to a doctor, WC case, lawyer(except your own & only if he/she wants it all.

Do this for all hospitals & facilities you may have gone to. Also go to the doctors office & ask them for a complete chart copy. Including doctors notes. If they ask why... Just tell them that you are possibly moving & want to have a complete chart to have for the new doctor & don't want to wait 2 months for the charts to catch up with you. A lot of practices are going electronic & can burn you a CD within a week or so.

Doing this will in the long run will save you time & lots of $$$ if you ever have to file suit.
Also if you choose not to. You DO NOT have to furnish any prior medical records not pertaining to that specific part of the body.

Best of luck with your back & I do hope you find some relief for your pain.

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This message is for roadiez. Hi I would like to talk to you about your problem. I just learned that my screws at T1 have broken. I had my surgery Sept. 4, 2014. Fusion at C 5 - 6 & posterior rod and screws. The dr says there is nothing to worry about. I have searched on the internet but can't find anything about this. Thanks!

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I don’t know when it happened, but I broke a screw that was fusing my C4/C5. Doc said fusion was complete thereby no action is needed. I have a photo but do not know how to post.
-joe
PS my avatar shows the broken screw.

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From my Dr... He's not worried about my 2 being broken as long as it's not impinging upon the spinal cord. Hopefully you can find out something about your broken screw from your Dr... Mine was very reluctant to say anything at all. Guess covering his rear.

With your being a complete fusion you're in good shape. With all of the solid bone around it. It should be okay, unless it's touching the cord.

Sorry to the poster that sent me a message back in 2015, I had a lot of things going on back then.

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Hello, McMedic0317 (and everyone else)--

Although this is an older post, we'd like to contribute some information on this topic that we hope helps future readers who see this post.

Spinal instrumentation failure is a risk associated with spinal fusion surgery. Sometimes, it doesn't cause any problems, and it can actually be riskier to undergo a second surgery to remove it. On the other hand, broken instrumentation may need to be removed (if it's impinging on your spinal cord, for instance).

We have a good article written by a spine surgeon on this very topic: ( Spinal Fusion Instrumentation Removal: Pros and Cons ). We hope it provides some helpful information on the thought process that goes into whether failed instrumentation should be removed.

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I had surgery July 2009 and when I woke up from the surgery I had leg cramps and the worst pain down the right outside part of my leg. The nurse told me to hit the pain button that delivered what I’m guessing was morphine. I had those leg stimulator things on that just made the cramps constant. The nurse said if I wanted them off I should take them off on my own because she wasn’t authorized to do it. Well I took them off and after a couple of hours I was able to get some rest. The surgeon came around doing his routine visits and told me not to worry that the cramps were temporary. Well it’s December 2017 and I still get leg cramps in the exact same area as the day of surgery ! Three screws are broken out of four. Two are inside the spinal canal. He missed his mark or the screws were just too long. Either way I’ve been living like this forever. Now the workers compensation company that my employer uses found a doctor to say there is nothing wrong with me and I don’t need any further surgery or treatment. Don’t know if we’re allowed to post pictures in our comments because I can’t find a way to do that but I have a copy of the mri from my new surgeon which shows the tips of the two screws in the canal. He also sent me to a teaching hospital where the surgeon I saw there said absolutely that the screws are broken and in the spinal canal. I’m wondering how risky it would be to have the screws removed. Anyone know where to go to see what the odds of success are for removing screws from the spinal canal ? The head of the screws can be taken out but it’s the other part of the screws that are sitting on the nerves.

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