View Full Version : Revision Surgery/Photo of Broken Rod

7th July 2005, 08:57 AM
Hello all-

My name is Anna, I'm new here, I'm 18 years old, and I recently had revision surgery to remove a Harrington rod I had put in place five years ago. About a year ago, I discovered that my rod had actually broken, and I started having really sharp, constant pain around the area of the fracture.

On June 3rd, I went into the hospital for revision surgery. The pain/recovery was NOTHING like the original. I was up walking the day of the surgery, and I went home the day after. I was much more alert right after the surgery than I had been for the first. The pain lasted for about a week, but then I started gaining more and more mobility and feeling increasingly better and stronger every day. I took myself off of percocet and started taking Tylenol about the 5th day, the percocet made me very nautious and sick.

I'm so, so grateful that I had the revision surgery done. I now have no more pain, and it's helped me feel better about my back now that I have all that metal out. Who wants something broken in them anyway?

During the surgery, my doctor determined that the rod broke because of a pseudoarthrosis (failure of fusion) in that specific area. Apparently, micro-movement of the spine in that area eventually built up stress on the rod and broke the metal. Go figure! He removed the rod and added some extra bone graft to that spot, so hopefully I'll be home free from here.

A month has passed, and the only complications I have developed have been a hematoma (pocket filled with blood that's common after surgery) that re-absorbed into my body in about a week, allergies to the adhesive used on the dressings, and some difficult emotional problems -- feeling sad, tired, having bad thoughts and fears about the surgery in general. I'm hopping that the stress/emotional problems I'm having will eventually get better once all the medicine has left my body.

My doctor used the same incision as before, and my scar healed much better and faster than the previous surgery. So, I would definately recommend it to all those who are questioning having revision done. It's made my life so much better.

I was able to keep all the metal my doctor took out of my back, and I thought you all might like to see a variation of what's inside your body. The picture linked below is of a titanium Harrington rod, measuring about 11 inches long when fitted together. The various clamps and wires were used to bolt the rod to my spine. Enjoy!

Broken Harrington Rod and Other Hardware (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v415/annersofoz/backrod.jpg)


I've also heard that you guys were/are thinking about developing the Live-Strong type wristbands, only scoiosis-related. Is this true, and where can I find info about them? Thanks!

7th July 2005, 09:31 AM
Welcome to SSO Anna :welcome:

I'm Andrea, mum to Erin who is 2 and has infantile scoliosis. I'm glad to hear your revision surgery has been successful - it's always good to hear successful stories of surgery. We're a very varied bunch of all ages and nationalities and I hope you'll feel at home.

There was talk of the wristbands, but i'm not sure where we are in their production. I think a couple of other sites have spoken about it as well.

7th July 2005, 11:04 AM
Hi Anna, and welcome to SSO! Thanks for sharing your story, complete with photo of the broken rod! I'm so glad your revision was so successful (and easy!).

7th July 2005, 11:15 AM
Hi Anna! :welcome2:

A broken rod is the nightmare of everyone with spinal instrumentation... But I'm glad to hear that you're okay now! :niceone: Sorry, I have some questions: Were did your surgeon get the extra bone graft from? Is there any risk of your scoliosis getting worse now? Did you regain your full flexibility?

I'm 22 years old, from Belgium, and I had surgery with Isola instrumentation 6 years ago. I didn't know they still used Harrington rods back then.

I had a Dutch lady asking me a couple of months ago if I knew anyone with a broken Harrington rod.. I think I'll send her an e-mail and refer her to this forum again. ;-)

Anyways, welcome to SSO!!!!!!

7th July 2005, 11:29 AM
hey and welcome to the forums :D
Sorry about your rod snapping, glad your revision surgery went so well, that picture is facinating, but i have to say it did make me a little woozy :-D its odd knowing i have one of them in me :-?

Hope you continue feeling better...

all the best

7th July 2005, 12:47 PM
Hi Anna, I recognise that rod, didn't I meet you on LJ? :D

Welcome to SSO!! I'm glad you're doing so well now :welcome:

Toni xx

7th July 2005, 02:37 PM
Enjoy ?!!! That picture is not doing my sensitive stomach any good - it's not going well with my morning toast and cheddar. :-o O.K. here I go.... :vomit:


7th July 2005, 07:09 PM
Hey, thanks you guys! I really appreciate the warm welcome and good wishes :)

Awwww sorry Sealy <3

Toni&#33; You probably did :). Thanks for the welcome&#33; I&#39;ve been looking all over the place for a forum like this and I&#39;m glad I&#39;ve found you guys.

Liv- I&#39;m not familiar with the terminology I&#39;m supposed to use for this so please forgive me *g*. He didn&#39;t get it from my hip or anything, and from the way he explained it to me it was a powder type of graft? I&#39;m not entirely sure. Sorry I can&#39;t have a better answer&#33;

No risk of scoliosis getting worse, my doctor explained that now that my fusion is solid, I shouldn&#39;t have any more significant curvature. The rod was just there for protection and to hold my spine straight until the fusion took, so I didn&#39;t really need it anyway. I have heard of some people curving after they&#39;ve had their instrumentation taken out, and I&#39;m just praying that I don&#39;t have to go through that lol.

I have the same flexibility that I had before because my spine is still fused. But, I do notice a big difference in the way my back feels. I used to have a lot of pain back where I had the fracture in the rod, but now my back just feels pretty normal besides the nerves and the muscles recovering from the surgery. No more pain&#33; Yay&#33; You&#39;re welcome to e-mail the picture to anyone you&#39;d like :).

Thanks again everyone&#33; I already feel at home here lol.

Oh, and I must apologize, Linda at the NSF board just told me that my rod isn&#39;t a Harrington one, which makes me feel entirely stupid because I could have *sworn* that my doctor toooold me it was a Harrington. So, I have no idea what it is, and I&#39;ll have to make it a point to ask him specifically lol.

7th July 2005, 08:46 PM
Hi again Anna :D Yes, I remember commenting on your rod pic before on lightningrod&#39;s Gotscoliosis community (she&#39;s a friend of ours) :)

*looks at rod again*

Oh I see, I guess it&#39;s not strictly a Harrington because it doesn&#39;t have the racheting system, it&#39;s just a plain rod of some sort. I did wonder why you had been given a Harrington when your surgery was comparatively recent&#33;

Glad you feel at home here :D We&#39;re glad to have you&#33;

Toni xx

7th July 2005, 09:48 PM
wow&#33; I am so glad my rod didn&#39;t break...but then again...maybe they&#39;d be able to fix it to make me straighter if it did....hmmm.....j/k

Glad that recovery went so well for you&#33;

7th July 2005, 09:57 PM
Hiya - I have met you on LJ :-D remember heifetz?

Nice rod, nasty failure&#33; I also had a revision in March, 8 months after my original surgery, but it was my laminae and not the rod that broke.

I&#39;m assuming that yours was some sort of universal system involving wires and hooks. Glad to hear the surgeon sorted the pseudarthrosis and I hope it&#39;s all downhill from here&#33;

8th July 2005, 12:01 AM
Hi Anna&#33; Welcome to SSO&#33;&#33; :welcome: Thanks for sharing your story....&#33;
Those pictures were....rather....imteresting to say the least....were they the actual rods that were in your spine???

I am sorry that your fusion didnt hold and that you needed a revision surgery&#33;&#33;

By the way my name is Abbi, I am 18 from Nothern Ireland&#33; I was d/n with scoliosis last March and will be having surgery in August&#33;

Amazed Jean
8th July 2005, 03:52 AM
Welcome to the sight. Ecck the broken rod gives me chills&#33; I oance again thank God that I didn&#39;t have early rod surgery of any kind in my youth.

8th July 2005, 03:55 AM
Hi Johnny :) I do remember you&#33;

And Abbi&#33; Hello&#33; Thanks for welcoming me. Yup, those two peices fit together to be the rod that was in my spine. Insane isn&#39;t it? Good luck with your surgery&#33;

9th July 2005, 02:58 PM
Sorry for the late welcome, but HI none the less. I am Phil, with kypsosis and scoliosis due to have surgery later this year.

Interesting to see your broken rods, but great to see you well&#33;

Welcome :)

10th July 2005, 07:42 PM
EEEEEEEEK , i have one of those in my back .Hopefull not broken though .I wish i could get my GP to refer me so i could get revision surgery , I just visited someone that had revision surgery 32 years after her last surgery .Her back was really bad but after just one operation they have her back straight again , she&#39;s had 2 new cage thingies and a wedge put in and they took some ribs out .I was quite amazed at want they could do .I&#39;m glad they sorted you out too , i&#39;ll keep nagging my GP .

12th July 2005, 04:40 AM
Wait a minute&#33; Are you on LJ? Cause I swear I saw that picture before&#33; Anyway, welcome to SSO :welcome2:

As far as the wristband thing goes, it&#39;s still in waiting...gotta get the funds. Maybe in the next few months. :P

16th July 2005, 10:59 AM
I have a wicked mauve wrist band , its to get Bibles into China .The Chineese Government dont like it , so secret missions are needed to supply the Chineese with their Bibles .

20th July 2005, 06:19 PM
Hi, Welcome to SSO, sorry for the late welcome :welcome:

I&#39;m Jules or Julie and I&#39;m 16, I had surgery last year to correct a 50 degree curve.

21st July 2005, 07:25 AM
That is so cool, Pikey&#33; I was scheduled to visit Japan as Journeyman (2-year missionary) in 1995, but ended up getting married instead. I know all about the problems with Christians in China and Japan. Thanks so much for your message&#33;