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Thread: cracked Harrington rods

  1. #1

    cracked Harrington rods

    My doc says they're cracked, and wants me to take em out. Should I just wait till they really start bothering me, or am I running a big risk?

    I don't want no more surgeries.




    grrrr

  2. #2
    Is this physician and orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon who specializes in spinal surgery? It is common for rods to crack or break, but unless they are causing pain or deformity, we usually leave them alone. There are risks for the removal surgery (infection, anesthesia, etc.) which we feel does not warrant removal unless they are causing problems.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Hey rathole....most leave them in now. When I had mine put in in 1989, he said from day one that he would remove them in a year.

    If you choose to have them removed....it was not as bad as having them put in. I bounced back quick. They wanted me to return to rehab for two weeks after I had them removed but I didnt want to leave my daughter again.

    There are risks with any surgery just as there are risks involved with leaving them in.

    Good luck in whatever you decide.
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  4. #4
    Banned adi chicago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCI-Nurse
    Is this physician and orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon who specializes in spinal surgery? It is common for rods to crack or break, but unless they are causing pain or deformity, we usually leave them alone. There are risks for the removal surgery (infection, anesthesia, etc.) which we feel does not warrant removal unless they are causing problems.

    (KLD)
    titanium crack or break?i must move my neck as slowly as i can...screws.
    • Dum spiro, spero.
      • Translation: "As long as I breathe, I hope."

  5. #5
    Fracture of distraction rods use to be much more common in the 1970's when most rods were longer, made of steel rather than modern titanium alloys (Source).The incidence of "breakage" should be less with the new alloys. Nevertheless, rod failures still occur in as many as 2% of cases (Source). For obvious reasons, most rod breaks occur in the thoracolumbar region where the force placed on the rods is greater than in the upper thorax or cervical regions. Longer rods are more likely to fracture (Source).

    There have been few (or no) randomized comparisons of rod removal after fractures have been discovered. According to the Scoliosis Project of Australia, they do not recommend removal of fractured rods until the patient has troublesome local pain. If there is pain, removal is not a big procedure:
    http://www.scoliosis-australia.org/p...download06.pdf
    Is a broken rod an indication to remove the rod?
    The answer to this is “No” unless the patient has troublesome local pain. Even when a solid fusion is present, approximately 10% to 15% of Harrington rods subsequently fracture, again due to micro movement in day-to-day activities. If local discomfort is present at, or about, the site of the rod breakage, it is an indication for its removal. This will relieve the symptoms. Many patients with broken rods and solid fusions continue throughout life with little in the way of disability or discomfort. It is very much an individual matter based on assessment of the patient’s complaints. On the other hand, if rod breakage occurs within two years of the initial operation, it usually indicates the need to surgically explore the fusion and repair a failure of fusion (this is called a pseudarthrosis) which is almost invariably present.

    􀂃 Is removal of the rods a big operation?
    No, it is a simple procedure which requires a hospital stay of about two days. Post-operative pain is minimal when compared to that which occurs after the initial operation. The rods are removed through the original
    incision, and in an older patient the opportunity to improve the cosmetic aspects of the scar can be taken. It is a relatively minor procedure except when a failure of fusion has to be repaired by further bone grafting and
    perhaps modification of the instrumentation to gain healing.
    Wise.

  6. #6
    I want to thank everyone for their answers.


    I think I will just leave them be for now.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CapnGimp's Avatar
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    ME? I'd have mine out in a HEARTBEAT if I had the opportunity. They cause a bunch of pain for me and a large knot over one of the bolts. My philosophy is the fewer spare parts ya have, the less chances of complications later on in life (now as my case is)
    pm me and let me know what's up with your po buddy, been wondering about it

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