View Full Version : Hello ! :)

28th September 2004, 12:50 AM
Hello everyone!

What a great site, I am well impressed!

I am 36, was diagnosed 20 years ago and had a harrington rod put in when I was 19. All went quite well for years but about three years ago I started getting dreadful pains in my back, neck and side. After several trips to the Doc's and a referral to my local hospital I finally found out three months ago that my rod has snapped.
I was a bit shocked :-o as the Doctor at my local hospital told me he hasn't a clue what will happen in the future and has referred me back to Stanmore who carried out the original op. Stanmore Orth Hosp have written to me saying they have a huge waiting list and they will contact me a month before my appointment is due.
So, here I am......waiting!
As time goes by I am getting worked up about what will happen. I was wondering if anyone had experienced a broken rod and what the outcome was for them.
I know that no two people are the same but it's kind of dominating my thoughts at the moment.
Slinx :)

28th September 2004, 12:59 AM
Hiya Slinx :wave: :-) welcome!

Afraid I can't help with the broken rod thing, but I know that Vicki had a Harrington rod put in at Stanmore that broke - I'm sure she can help.

I had my surgery at Stanmore too, two months ago, went back for a checkup today and all's well. :-)

Vicki's around somewhere...

28th September 2004, 11:23 AM
Hi Slinx!

I'm not a lot of use either in that I didn't have a Harrington and haven't had broken rods either. However, I had my first surgery at 20, and then more recently had a salvage surgery at 29 - back in October 2002 - after developing long term complications and pain, so I know how it feels to be facing a repeat surgery.

It is pretty difficult to know what they'll do for you, because as you say no two people are the same, and that's something especially true with scoliosis. However, you'll definitely be in good hands in Stanmore - they've still got great doctors :-) Although it isn't the most helpful thing to find out that a doctor doesn't know how a situation is likely to progress, it's really great that your local doc knows his limitations and has referred you on - the wait to see an expert will definitely be worth it!

Feel free to ask anything you want about the salvage surgery I had if it will help :-) Meanwhile, :welcome2: !

28th September 2004, 11:31 AM
Hi Slinx
I also have a Harrington Rod since 1979 which was still intact when I last had an x-ray in January of this year.
You'll see brief details of Vickie's scoliosis history on the first page of the Medical Histories thread:
http://www.scoliosis-support.org/modules/i...howtopic=5&st=0 (http://www.scoliosis-support.org/modules/ipboard/index.php?s=&showtopic=5&st=0)
Good luck and :welcome2: .

28th September 2004, 11:48 AM
Hey, im not sure what kinda rod i have, i'm gonna ask next time.

Im not much help, part from i had surgery at stanmore just over a year ago :)

28th September 2004, 12:19 PM
Hi Slinx,

Welcome to SSO! :D

I was also treated at Stanmore, and have a Harrington Rod :-) I had my first Harrington put in when I was ten, in 1986....we must have had our surgeries within a few months of each other! I had that rod removed and replaced with a longer Harrington when I was 18, and am now fused T1 - L3. My x-rays are in the gallery if you'd like to see :-)

Sorry to hear you've been having such horrible problems with your rod. A broken Harrington can be caused by a failure in the spinal fusion - this is known as "pseudarthrosis". I don't want to scare you, but it's a possibility, and when you go to Stanmore they'll do tests to check for this. A broken rod itself isn't too much of a problem (as the others have mentioned, Vicki's had hers for years!) but if you are having such terrible pain then they will investigate it thoroughly.

If it came to it, having a Harrington removed or replaced should be relatively simple compared to other types of metalwork because it is minimally invasive - it is usually only attached to the spine in a couple of places, rather than having lots of bolts and screws through each vertebra, so it's quite simple to get out. If your rod has snapped but your fusion is solid, I doubt very much that they'd want to put another rod in, because it wouldn't be needed.

Hope this helps! And once again, welcome to SSO :welcome:

Toni xx

28th September 2004, 02:45 PM
Welcome!! :D

I'm afraid I can't help, as my Kaneda rods aren't broken :P

Hope you like it here :wave:

28th September 2004, 02:53 PM
Yikes, not another Stanmore member here. Ha, just kidding. But we do have a few. So WELCOME, WELCOME!

That's crap about the snapped rod. Hopefully your spine will be better without it (compared to a non-broken rod) - if that made sense *cringes face*

Whatever the outcome, hope it's a good one!

28th September 2004, 03:41 PM
Hi Slinx and welcome! :welcome: Nice to see another thirtysomething...I'm 37 and had a fusion without a harrington rod in 1983.Technically you don't need to have the rod intact and chances are they won't need to remove it, but if they do it's a relatively straightforward procedure.
The rod may not necessarily be the cause of your pain.At age 36 it's highly likely that your discs are degenerating above and below the fusion as happens to most of us oldies........ :woe: It's just a consequence of aging and living with a fused spine.
If your fusion is found to be intact and the curve has not progressed they'll most likely leave the rod alone.Sometimes a broken rod can be caused by a failure in the fusion called pseudarthrosis...(nothing to panic about), sometimes it's just good old fashioned metal fatigue.
They'll get to the bottom of it in Stanmore.Their waiting lists aren't as bad as you would think.Dee here got an appointment in December giving her about a 4 month wait.Anything we can do for you, just ask!!

28th September 2004, 09:49 PM
Hey welcome welcome! My name is Lindsay and i'm 15 =)

29th September 2004, 07:39 AM
This is slightly off topic from Slinx's post, but I am looking for clarification...

Okay, I've read on various sites that after the fusion is solid, the rod(s) become kind of redundant/unnecessary. Is that correct? So in cases of successful fusions with instrumentation, there shouldn't be any force exerted on the rods, because the spine is now holding on its own. Right?

My understanding is that a broken rod, in and of itself, is not a problem unless it's a result of pseudoarthrosis or if it is causing pain or problems. In many cases, it's not even removed. Correct?

I guess that's what Sins said, but I just want to make sure I understand correctly.

29th September 2004, 03:29 PM
That's right Kimberly!!
But In certain circumstances uninstrumented fusions can break down in the absence of instrumentation.Like mine, Danite, Smiler and others we know on other forums.They would be fusions on large curves and the law of the lever may cause a lot of pressure at the apex of the curve causing cracks to appear. What I understood from my consultant recently is that if your curve is corrected to 60 degrees and under you have no need to worry about curve progression even in the absence of instrumentation.Over 60 deg you will expect some slow changes over time.I hope I interpreted that correctly!!
and now I've probably caused mass confusion!
:idiot: :idiot:

29th September 2004, 07:19 PM
Made sense to me ;-) What I would add is that there seems to be some variance of opinion as to whether rods can break in the absence of a pseudoarthrosis. The only instances I've heard of where full investigation has been done and no pseudoarthrosis found, are with Harrington rods - which probably makes sense. As Harringtons are attached at top and bottom only, it's got to be easier (although still rare) for one of them to break than for segmented instrumentation that is attached at multiple levels to break.