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Thread: Harrington rod removal

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Harrington rod removal

    Hi, I had scoliosis surgery in 1992. I've had pain in my right side/wing area (by my hook) probably since 2002. I've lived with the pain and just figured it was part of having a crooked spine. The pain over the past year has increased. I feel burning, stinging, aching, sharpness, skin is sensitive to touch and at times it feels like there are rubber bands in there that are being yanked on. Anyway, I want to see my original surgeon yesterday (Dr Tall, Jewett, Orlando Fl - Love him!) to discuss removing one hook as we had talked about four years ago. He basically said I no longer needed the rods at all; they have served their purpose. I plan on having them removed in a couple of months and am definitely excited, but I'm scared that the fused portion of my spine will be more fragile without the rods, than with. He also says the surgery is short, 90 min, with 1-2 nights in the hospital. Is that optimistic? I'm also considering having the entire thing re-done - breaking the fuse and re-fusing with a straight spine, no more curve. Is that crazy? Has anyone had this done?
    Last edited by Natalie625; 09-09-2011 at 05:06 PM.

  2. #2
    I had an old familiar pain from the rods. I wanted them out the doctors said that pain is not from the rods. Guess what?! The pain is gone and i feel so much better without the rods. The bones typically fuse and are pretty strong and the rods aren't needed is my understanding they are just extra insurance.

  3. #3
    Hi,

    What T5 described above is my understanding as well. What is prompting you to get them re-done? What does your surgeon say?

    AAD

  4. #4
    My scoliosis surgery was done in 1980 and I was supposed to get the Harrington rod, but in those days you had to spend 2 weeks in traction to minimize the spinal curve to make the spine more straight before surgery. Long story short, my curve straightened just enough to not need the rod added to my fusion, while the other 2 kids having the surgery with me needed the rod. Thirty-one years later the fusion is still in good shape (mri and x-rays every 5 years). It is true that the rod is to keep the fusion and spine stable during the healing process and is not needed after that, and it is not uncommon to have the rod removed.

  5. #5
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    Thanks everyone. I've always said that if they can re-do my surgery and make my spine completely straight, that I would definitely go through it again. Now that I'm going under the knife, this would be my chance. My surgeon however said that there are lots of risks involved as they would have to break the fusion to re-fuse straight; he didn't give me the warm fuzzy that this is something he'd suggest. So I'm 99% sure that I will just have the rods removed rather than re-fuse. What makes me nervous though is that my spine is super sneaky. When it began curving, it curved so fast. Then, once it was fused it continued to curve (spinal crankshaft phenomena?) but not bad enough to fuse arterially. I have rotated since having the original surgery and the lower curve is still at risk to be fused at some point. I just worry that I may start curving again or that the fuse will be fragile, because that would just be my luck. I'm sure it's just in my head though. I am SO excited to that I can remove them and reduce this pain! Each time I feel a sting or something clicking or pulling I realize that will all be gone soon and it’s such a relief! I never, ever imagined that those feelings would ever disappear.

  6. #6
    Senior Member alan's Avatar
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    Can II have them? I could never get an orthopod to do anything with my multi-curved spine.
    Alan

    Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

  7. #7
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    They wouldn't fuse you? How bad are your curves? I have an S curve but lower curve is not yet fused. You want my rods? Lol

  8. #8
    Not to hijack your thread but any thoughts on me?? I'm fused from T6- L1, but think I have regained muscle activity up to T8. Would it be worth having them removed or cut down?? I have regained movement but everything I move the rods remind me I cannot with that wonderful pain. Thoughts???

  9. #9
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    You should talk to your dr. I didn't realize until last week that you could actually get them removed. If your spine is fused apparently there is no use for them anymore. I wonder why they don't tell you that up front. Probably to prevent unnecessary surgery I guess. I'm planning on booking my surgery today!

  10. #10
    The rods are not needed after the fusion heals. However, no one likes to do unnecessary surgery. So, if you are not having pain, discomfort, or any loss of mobility, most surgeons will not encourage you to have the, removed.
    Ckf

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