Spinal instrumentation


Spinal instrumentation is a method of keeping the spine rigid after spinal fusion surgery by surgically attaching hooks, rods, and wire to the spine in a way that redistributes the stresses on the bones and keeps them in proper alignment while the bones of the spine fuse.


Spinal instrumentation is used to treat instability and deformity of the spine. Instability occurs when the spine no longer maintains its normal shape during movement. Such instability results in nerve damage, spinal deformities, and disabling pain. Scoliosis (scoliosis) is a side-to-side spinal curvature. Kyphosis is a front-to-back curvature of the upper spine, while lordosis is an excessive curve of the lower spine. More than one type of curve may be present.


Spinal deformities may be caused by:


Spinal instrumentation provides a stable, rigid column that encourages bones to fuse after spinal fusion surgery. Its purpose is to aid fusion. Without fusion, the metal will eventually fatigue and break, and so instrumentation is not itself a treatment for spine deformity.

Different types of spinal instrumentation are used to treat different spinal problems. Although the details of the insertion of rods, wires, screws, and hooks vary, the purpose of all spinal instrumentation is the same—to correct and stabilize the backbone while the bones of the spine fuse. The various instruments are all made of stainless steel, titanium, or titanium alloy.

The oldest form of spinal instrumentation is the Harrington rod. While it was simple in design, it required a long period of brace wearing after the operation, and did not allow segmental adjustment of correction. The Luque rod was developed to avoid the long postoperative bracing period. This system threads wires into the space within each vertebra. The risk of injury to the nerves and spinal cord is higher than with some other forms of instrumentation. Cotrel-Dubousset instrumentation uses hooks and rods in a cross-linked pattern to realign the spine and redistribute the biomechanical stress. The main advantage of Cotrel-Dubousset instrumentation is that because of the extensive cross-linking, the patient may not have to wear a cast or brace after surgery. The disadvantage is the complexity of the operation and the number of hooks and cross-links that may fail.

Several newer systems use screws that are embedded into the portion of the vertebra called the pedicle. Pedicle screws avoid the need for threading wires, but carry the risk of migrating out of the bone and contacting the spinal cord or the aorta (the major blood vessel exiting the heart). During the late 1990s, pedicle screws were the subject of several high-profile lawsuits. The controversies have since subsided, and pedicle screws remain an indispensible part of the spinal instrumentation. Many operations today are performed with a mix of techniques, such as Luque rods in the lower back and hooks and screws up higher. A physician chooses the proper type of instrumentation based on the type of disorder, the age and health of the patient, and the physician's experience.

The surgeon strips the tissue away from the area to be fused. The surface of the bone is peeled away. A piece of bone is removed from the hip and placed along side the area to be fused. The stripping of the bone helps the bone graft to fuse.

After the fusion site is prepared, the rods, hooks, screws, and wires are inserted. There is much variation in how this is done based on the spinal instrumentation chosen. Once the rods are in place, the incision is closed.


Spinal fusion with spinal instrumentation is major surgery. The patient will undergo many tests to determine the nature and exact location of the back problem. These tests are likely to include

In addition, the patient will undergo a battery of blood and urine tests, and possibly an electrocardiogram to provide the surgeon and anesthesiologist with information that will allow the operation to be performed safely. In Harrington rod instrumentation, the patient may be placed in traction or an upper body cast to stretch contracted muscles before surgery.


After surgery, the patient will be confined to bed. A catheter is inserted so that the patient can urinate without getting up. Vital signs are monitored, and the patient's position is changed frequently so that bedsores do not develop.

Recovery from spinal instrumentation can be a long arduous process. Movement is severely limited for a period of time. In certain types of instrumentation, the patient is put in a cast to allow the realigned bones to stay in position until healing takes place. This can be as long as six to eight months. Many patients will need to wear a brace after the cast is removed.

During the recovery period, the patient is taught respiratory exercises to help maintain respiratory function during the time of limited mobility. Physical therapists assist the patient in learning self-care and in performing strengthening and range-of-motion exercises. Length of hospital stay depends on the age and health of the patient, as well as the specific problem that was corrected. The patient can expect to remain under a physician's care for many months.


Spinal instrumentation carries a significant risk of nerve damage and paralysis. The skill of the surgeon can affect the outcome of the operation, so patients should look for a hospital and surgical team that has a lot of experience doing spinal procedures.

Since the hooks and rods of spinal instrumentation are anchored in the bones of the back, spinal instrumentation should not be performed on people with serious osteoporosis. To overcome this limitation, techniques are being explored that help anchor instrumentation in fragile bones.

After surgery there is a risk of infection or an inflammatory reaction due to the presence of the foreign material in the body. Serious infection of the membranes covering the spinal cord and brain can occur. In the long term, the instrumentation may move or break, causing nerve damage and requiring a second surgery. Some bone grafts do not heal well, lengthening the time the patient must spend in a cast or brace or necessitating additional surgery. Casting and wearing a brace may take an emotional toll, especially on young people. Patients who have had spinal instrumentation must avoid contact sports, and, for the rest of their lives, eliminate situations that will abnormally put stress on their spines.

Normal results

Many young people with scoliosis heal with significantly improved alignment of the spine. Results of spinal instrumentation done for other conditions vary widely.

Morbidity and mortality rates

Mortality rate for spinal fusion surgery is less than 1%. Neurologic injury may occur in 1–5% of cases. Delayed paralysis is possible but rare.


Not all patients require instrumentation with their spinal fusion. For some patients, a rigid external brace can provide the required rigidity to allow the bones to fuse.



"Cotrel-Dubousset Spinal Instrumentation." In Everything You Need to Know About Medical Treatments. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corp., 1996.

"Harrington Rod." In Everything You Need to Know About Medical Treatments. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corp., 1996.


National Scoliosis Foundation. 5 Cabot Place, Stoughton, MA 020724. (800) 673-6922. http://www.scoliosis.org


Orthogate [cited July 1, 2003]. http://owl.orthogate.org/ .

Tish Davidson, A.M. Richard Robinson


Spinal instrumentation is performed by a neurosurgical and/or orthopedic surgical team with special experience in spinal operations. The surgery is done in a hospital under general anesthesia. It is done at the same time as spinal fusion.


User Contributions:

arlene Ligotti
I HAD 3 titanium rods inserted-and held in place with nuts,bolts and screws over 5 levels ending in L2, about 5 or 6 years ago. Also my own bone was used as stabelization. One of the rods have 'cracked' and i have uncomfortable popping and pain especially when taking a step. I discussed this with my physician and other than removing the rod and replacing it, which he did not recommend, he said I just had to put up with it. I also have 3 ulcers that I'm dealing with so pain management is difficult. I am a very active 73 year old and am not ready to give up.
Do you have any suggestions for me?
gina Schrader
I also have a titanium rod that cleanly cracked in half and my doctors says I can leave it in because it is stablized and not going anywhere? This april would of been 3 yrs. for me and I am so upset and cannot understand why this happened. I have other noises going on in my back and lots of pain. They are treated it as a back fracture. Need advice of what to do?
I am 3 months shy of two years since my lumbar laminectomy , posteriorfusion with intrapedicular pins (screws) and posterior Harrington Rods. Post operatively I had respiratory complications after the nurses pushed me to walk the next day- which is fine- but refused to listen when I told them I couldn't breathe-I was in a stiff corset- I was re-intubated and stayed under "concious sedation" and was immobilised for a few days with the "milk of amnesia"= propofol. Iended up in a nursing home because I needed to learn to walk again;(humiliation from nurses'aides but rejoiced in the physical therapy personnel). I now have had for several months severe pain (ice-Pick) at one of the screw sites and constant pain in the OTHER leg with numbness. The surgeon says maybe to remove the "moving screw". I am Terrified at the thought. Are there any options? Any one have any thoughts, insights? Any hope?
I have had rods as well, put in 7 yrs ago. T4 to T12 were stabilzed due to a bad roll-over accident I had. After the surgury I lived throw two years of unbelievable pain. I had to get on a pain patch for the second year of my recovery. I will tell you today I have some nerve damage that feels like a continues fire on my back, due to the accident not the surgury, and I have discovered cymbolta the anti depression medicine helps me with this. My advice is have your spin repaired and then get on your process of recovery. During my surgury they had to undo and reapply the screws for a better fit. I recommend having the surgury and being prepaired for a long and painful recovery that will come - mine took almost 2 yrs. to be pain free.
I had a fusion done ten years ago..everything has been great the other day I felt this ripple go up my spine...and I now have pain in the L4 and L5 area. Sometimes it is so painful I want to scream. Could my fusion have cracked? Worried and started wearing a back brace it has helped alot.
Rosa Schneider
I had scoliosis surgery in Oct, 1992. It was anterior/posterior fusion using moduloc instrumentation with Cotrel-Dubousset Instrumentation. I had no problem with recovery, doing great up to the present time. I would like to know if Cotrel-Dubousset Spinal Instrumentation is made up of titanium or stainless steel. Thank you in advance.
I had a fusion done ten years ago..everything has been great the other day I felt this ripple go up my spine...and I now have pain in the L4 and L5 area. Sometimes it is so painful I want to scream. Could my fusion have cracked? Worried and started wearing a back brace it has helped alot.
I had corrective surgery in 1986 using the Cotrel-Dubousset procedure. All is well with that, but I need an MRI for my shoulder. I need to know what kind of metal my rods are. I spoke with the hospital where i had surgery and those records have already been destroyed. It seems my doctor has retired. I don't know what else to do. Everything I've read online doesn't say what kind of metal rods were used. Help!
My son had spinal fusion performed 10/8/10. He has an extea vertebrae (which the doctor had knowledge of.) Doctor started basic chat flexing exercises at home. Fusion literally "popped"and "micromovements" were noted. He was given a Bone Growth Stimulator and vague (..."rated for up to 24 hrs") and a few days later he was in so much pain we took him to the ER immediately. The inside of his back was so inflamed it required prescription treatment.

There is one other thing I can't explain: his fusion and the surrounding area makes popping, squishy, scraping noises. What causes thi? Is it common?
My father who is 73 wants to have the fusion surgery, his doctor thinks its too risky for him. he has diabetes and asthma. But my father thinks he's going in and coming out no pain and back to when he was 40. I just don;t know his doctor does not want to do the surgery. he said he would find another one. for now he's on loratab. his doctor want to give him another paing block the first one was in march epidural, this will be t something for the pain in his legs. but he won;t have unless he can garautee it will work. i told him there is no gurantee on the surgery. any infor will help
Mary, I have had a squeaky type noise that started within one month of my S1 to T12 fusion with stainless steel instrumentation which has gotten gradially louder over past 10 months. While it does not hurt and I am very active for my 72 years (3-7 mile/day 7 have started playing golf again).
My surgeon has not given me an explaination. I am interested if you or anyone else has had a similar experience. While i am doing quite well, I do worry that this could lead to a failure of the surgery & more surgery
What types of instrumentation will I be receiving and how long the catheter will be i me
I have a broken titanium rod in my spine , can it be rejoined with a sleeve rather than removing the rod ?
My question is, can Herrington Rods cause polyperipheral neuropathy. The reason I ask, I had Herrington rods put in my back in 1984, and removed in 1991. I felt everything went well. Now it is 2011 and have drop foot. Three months ago I had an electrodiagnostic consultation. Heavy Metals were found in my body. That was said to of caused the drop foot. Is there a chance, that Herrington Rods would cause this polyperipheral neuropathy in ones body? Thank You James Griffis
My mother has had 3 spinal fusion operations with rods put in place. With each operation the dr. Had to go higher up the spine due to the vertebrae above the fusion basically crumbling as she has osteoporosis. With each surgery she would be doing pretty well and standing straight but within months she would start curving forward again. About 8 months after the second surgery both rods snapped and the pitch forward increased significantly. The dr. Took all of that hardware out and replaced it and added some additional stabilization in the area that it broke but within 6 months these rods snapped in the very same place. This happened just a few weeks ago and she has gone from standing reasonably straight to almost 90 degrees when standing and can only lift her head to look up by using her hand and is quite a bit of pain. I don't think my mother can go through another surgery of this degree right now, are there any other options. why do her rods keep breaking? We are told by her dr. That this is very uncommon. Are there other options that would not involve the rods?
Audrey, I'm so sorry to hear what your mother is going through. It sounds like to me that the pressure that is being put on her spine where naturally, even without any rods is so great that even the rods can't support all the pressure so they snap. Are the fusions also snapping or are they staying in place? After my fusion I continued to have pain because my body's natural weight when bending slightly forward or sitting was putting so much preasure and strain on my rods. So I went back in and they put in what's called a spinal cage. This goes in between the disks and helps to take alot of pressure off the rods. If you can imagine it, it's like putting a wedge in between the disks that helps prevent and supports the spine when going forward. Check out a spinal cage option. Search spinal cage on google to learn more. Good luck to you and your mom.
I am 49 years old...suffered with spondylolethesis for 2 years...tried everything including physio, spinal injections, many different pain meds, chiropractor, accupuncture...nothing worked so decidied to go ahead with the fusion. I am now 3 months post op and am doing pretty good...it was certainly a major operation and the recovery has been long but I am very optimistic for a full recovery. The only problem that I now have is in my right thigh...a burning/ tingling but I was told that this is from the positioning on the operating table (surgery was over 7 hours)...I am walking every day and will begin physio therapy next week and should go back to work soon. I would certainly recomend surgery to anyone in the same situation just make sure that you research the surgeon and hospital.
After two back surgeries 1st fusin 2nd one 9 screws now its been 3 years and imback to square one. My back never stops huting especailly bending at the hip getting up out of a chair or out of bed or toes drawing up on the right foot..im so scard that something has gone wrong..it just doesnt feel right especailly on the left side and there is a huge hard knot about the size of an green walnut hdros,trazdone flexrill relafan absoutley nothing help exercsing some heat and ice ..you name it but i try to walk everyday and its just ..when i iwalk if i dont step or pay attention to the way i walk it feels like i loose compltercontrol of movement in the lower back. Please someone give mesome advice onwhat to do...i have had 27 surgeries including neck, abdomen, knees, hands, bladder sometimes i feel like the medical field abuse me or experimented with me...
I have a doughter 12 years old with sever scoliosis of 70 degrees. Few doctors we have seen, tell us that the only way is surgery with pedicle screws and rods. I really don't like the surgery due to a lot of troubles and pains that she has to suffer for the rest of her life. Is there a better treatment?
I am 36 and have Sherman's kyphosis! T-7,8,9 and10 are compressed with on vertebra against my spinal cord but not bad!! I've lived in pain management almost 2yrs as my pain has got worse! I can't stand my pain dr.in f-fort,ky. So I found a UK DR. Who wants to put rods up n down my spine! This is a 8hr+ surgery! Since the Pain has got so bad I scheduled this for Dec.16 2011! They say 6mo. Recovery I still work 12hr shifts in a factory and deal with the pain! I'm worried about rods breaking or screws coming out any in put??? Someone my age who has this done?? Please I have time to change my mind!!
DO NOT DO THE SURGERY!!! I am 30 years old. I had a T-2 to L-2 spinal fusion. It was a 13 hour surgery and I ended up with 22 screws and 3 rods. The pain I had before my surgery is nothing compared to the pain I have now. Just yesterday I found out the one of my rods, has indead, broke in half. I was told a 12 month recovery. The surgery was 41 months ago, and I have never been in more pain or more miserable in all my life. I have severe neurological pain throughout my entire back, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and arthritis. I had none of this before the surgery.
True KD.

Operation is not good solution for sure. I also had L4-L5, L5-S1 fusion, with 6 screws. Though there is not much pain, but I can't sit for long. There are many restriction. I can here some noise in back, but surgeon says ignore it. Not sure, if it is sound of loose screw or anything else.
True KD.

Operation is not good solution for sure. I also had L4-L5, L5-S1 fusion, with 6 screws. Though there is not much pain, but I can't sit for long. There are many restriction. I can here some noise in back, but surgeon says ignore it. Not sure, if it is sound of loose screw or anything else.
I broke my back, cracked ribs, punctured lungs after falling down the stairs and had surgery but at the time did not know osteorporosis had developed in my spine, nor did the surgeon test to find out if this was a potential issue. After six months, I was able to remove my brace and a few weeks later started having pain in my new lower back issue if I sat over 3 hours. When i went back to find out why I had this pain, the Dr.orderd an MRI and found out that due to the onset of osteosporousis, the added weight of the titanium rods had caused my vertebrae to crumble causing pain if I sat too long. The Dr said had she know of my problem, she would never have suggested the titanium rods to repair my broken back. Lesson: get tested to make sure you do not have this bone disease!! This has caused me much pain and limitations in my work that can never be reversed.
Hi, First thanks to everyone who has taken the time to give info on this topic, your info is much appreciated. My step son has severe scoliosis and sadly has seperate problems which have left him unable to walk or talk since birth. He is now 10yrs old and we have just been informed he will be undergoing a full spinal fusion in the month of June 2012. I would be really grateful If anyone can put his parents and myself in the picture as to what to expect from the surgery. We are all obviously really worried as this is major surgery for someone so young. We are fully aware this is the only option for him as wearing a brace daily has not made any difference and the curve to his spine has continued to deterioate, it is now over 80%. We would like to know how the pain is afterwards following the surgery and what worked best for you while in hospital to ease the discomfort. With my step-son being unable to communicate we want to ensure we are doing the best for him by making sure we are aware of how it has affected other people who have had the same surgery. Any information as to what to expect would be appreciated. How long the op takes for example and how long the hospital stay normally is, and how many days did it take for you to start to feel better? We realise we are all in for a rough few months but we are all doing our best to keep positive.
My son had 2 rods and 20 screws fusion just over a month ago and since then had groin pain he been told if no better in 4 weeks there do ct scan I can't understand why thay hav not done any investigaion now not evan a x-ray thay say it could be a loose screw or musle pain why the wait and his pain has not been controled he 21 and its prolonging his progress in recoverery but he has now going to get pt at last I no the nhs has problems every where but come on it the basics that count and do make the difference and a better outcome
I have had 5 back surgeries since 2007 and i was wondering about the risk of one of my screws wa noticed to have gone all the way through my L5 vertabrea. In my MRi you can see the tissue infront of my spine being pushed towards my bowels area .. Now I see my chroni pain managment doctor monday. and will letyall knw what will or doesnt happen.. And why, i do not know if there is much between the front of the spine and the intestinal area. My sister is an RN and she said if it goes though I could become septic and be very veey sickk... Also wondering if the Doctor is responsible for my pain and damages. I will have a new surgeon this time. I am scared and for all of you above I pray for each and everyone of you . believe me if I would have known now wat I know now in 2007 I would of never had sugery. EVERY!!! there are so many other options out there Inest in the research and use surgery as the last resor. I ham completely disabled now. My life has changed in a dramatic way . I loed my career and was going to go o school to futher my education to help people, i was a medical assistat with the dreams of becomeing a drug and alcohol social wrker/ help children. I loe help others. Wish yu all the best of luck and eace. Hold on tightly to those yu love and use any support you can find. Have a peaceful evening and i look forward to heaaring from some of you.
Dear readers
Not sure if anyone can help me.
Am having spinal fusion of T12 thru L5 next week. Cannot find
References to this on the Internet or anyone who can let
Me know what to expect. Help!
From one Carole to another Carol: I had the same surgery in Jan. of 2010. Mine was supposed to be 5 or 6 hours long but it was 12 hours long. When I awoke I was in the most horrible pain I can imaginne because they couldn't give me pain meds because my blood pressure was too long. I actually thought I was dying.

I was in the hospital for one week but so highly sedated that I have very little memory of it. From the hospital I went to rehab for 3 weeks where I got phys. therapy. At home I got home health care for a few months and then physical therapy for a few weeks. When nothing seemed to be helping, I stopped the pt.

Today, almost 1 1/2 years later I am still in a lot of pain, different pain than before my surgery and my back is very unstable. It's very difficult for me to stand up straight. I use either a walker or a cane except for in the house.

Given another chance I would not have the surgery. I hope yours has a better outcome. Mine was to correct scoliosis. Good luck and I hope my tale is not too depressing.
I have severe scoliosis with several areas of severe pain. I am on pain med which does help, but I cannot eat large meals becasue it causes my stomach to expand putting pressure on the spine which then causes severe muscle spasms that cause me to vomit from the pain for 8 to 10 hours. Nothing helps the pain. I saw a doctor today who offered to " put rods and screw in my spine to straiten me out" After reading all the comments I really feel too frightened to go this way. Any info would be appreciated.
I had 10 screws and two titanium rods put in due to T2 having a burst fracture. Recovery was long a d verypainful. Now just short of a year since the operation all but one of my screws pulled out. I am at a 7 when taking pain pills. My surgeon wants to go back in put larger screws in the existing holes and add screws to more vertebrae with new longer rods. He doesn't feel the damaged vertebrae has healed enough. Has anyone had the same problem. What about the fix... I really don't want my spine looking like Swiss cheese. Has anyone used BPD growth inhibiter? Any other options or ideas. My pain is very intense.
I am 52 yrs old. I had a spinal fusion at L 4-5 with a bone graft taken from my hip (posterior incision) on June 1, 2012. I am allergic to morphine and was told to expect a very difficult recovery due to my allergy. There were literally no pain meds that helped me during those first few weeks. I had no idea how painful the surgery would be. The first 2 weeks were unbearable and I thought the pain would kill me. Then at the 3rd week I felt like I turned a tiny corner and some of the pain meds began to give me some relief. I forced myself to walk as much as I could in small increments. I bought a treadmill for home. I am now 45 days out and walking about 3 miles per day and have started PT twice per week with a therapist. I am still in a lot of pain (and still on meds) but I was told to expect this for quite some time as the bone takes months to fuse. I bought a zero gravity chair for work and home. This has been a huge help in taking the stress off my spine. I cannot stress how much this type of chair has helped me. Especially at work. I know it will be a long road before I know how much pain I will eventually have to live with from this procedure but I can say that walking has done wonders for me. I can do a lot of things most people at my post-op stage cannot do. I still sleep a great deal and was told to expect this. They said that it takes about 1 month for every hour I was under general anesthesia for the drugs to work their way out of my system. So I just sleep as much as I can. I am hoping that in a few months I will feel much less fatigue. I think that a positive attitude and great determination will help anyone who is facing this surgery. You must not give up no matter how hard things get. Just tell yourself to take one more step and eventually you will be mobile again. Walk walk walk. Good luck and don't give up. All the best to anyone who is getting ready to do this or has been thru this procedure.
dee dee
to Virginia.I am 43 & was diagnosed w/ scoliosis as a teen.mine is the severe kind where my spine keeps curving.so much so that not only was it horseshoe shaped,but I also had a hump in my back.My surgeon said if I didn't have surgery.my spine would continue to curve until it started to affect my heart & lungs.basically,I had ant. & post. spinal fusion.(harrington rods).the surgery took 2 days w/ 1 day in between spent in ICU.(that's normal)I was my surgeons' longest operation to date @ 28 1/2 hrs total.I was told the pain would be horrendous,but it was much worse.A bloodclot delayed my recovery about 6 months to 18mos.I stopped painkillers on my own before my physical therapy was over,reaching my surgeons goal to be off meds within 12-18mos.warning-everybody will tell u their back surgery nightmares.If it's not scoliosis,theres no comparison NONE.Your primary care dr.,nurses,even the attending after surgery won't have a clue.Mine asked if he could bring his students to look @ my back because they'd likely never see my type of operation again.all I can say is it was terrifying;but I'd do it again in a second.Dr.McNulty was my surgeon-an expert in scoliosis @ nevada orthopedic.he's not cuddly,but he is a genius.this month is my 2yr anniversary,& even though I'll never be able to tie my own shoes,I'm pain free w/ perfect posture & no more hump!!! good luck whatever you decide
I'm 69 & had fusion back surgery 4 months ago and am still having trouble turning over in bed and getting off the bed. When I get up from bed, I can't walk, take a few baby steps and for the next 10 regular steps I am in terrible pain in my back. After the 10 or so steps I can walk ok without pain. Just wondering if any body else is having this trouble. I still suffer with sciatic nerve damage with numbness/tingling in foot. Taking neurontin
3 times a day (400 mg ea) reason for surgery, I had bulging disc pinching sciatic nerve in 2 places causing me to feel like I was sitting in coals of fire. Operation seems to have been successful other than the above problems.
looks from what i have read , im the oldest with a Harrington rod been in my back , back in 1978 they put a 20 inch Harrington rod in my back i was 16 year old kid ,thats 34 long years of suffering, i hurt so so freaking bad , i pray to god to die ever nite , im so misurbull , i cant stand it im 51 years old and in 1997 the doctor told me my back was a 85 year old mans back ,that was in 1997 ,this is 2012 can u amagein ,how old my back is now if it was 85 in 1997 its probley 130 or 140 years old by now i have detereateing des dezise,i will be so happy when i go to heaven and get my new body im 6foot but the doctors tell me im sapost to b 6foot and 4 inches cause my spine is shape like a s. please drop me a line to let me know some one cares for me thanks god bless tzarieL1@aol.com
greetings, looks like i am the oldest @ 53 , i had surgery when i was 18, they did a good job i guess considering it was a Harrington rod which is lame compared to the new way they do it with clamps on each side of the spine. i think the curve is about 15 degrees or so now, sometimes it feels like the spine is pushing out the side. i have trained hard my whole life to compensate for the weakness in my back. the best thing is lying down at night and taking the pressure off of the back.
Pete from Aus
G'day everyone, it's really sobering to read all your stories and questions. I know it's really difficult to speak to doctors and surgeons about some of these problems, and it seems that there are MANY surgeons who are performing fusions who shouldn't be. That's something I would like to change.

I was fused (t5-T9) in 1991, and it didn't help much. I now have an intrathecal drug pump (I'm on my 5th pump in a row) and that does help some. I also have a neurostimulator, which doesn't help with pain, but DOES help to keep me mobile (I swapped one pain for two - but it's worth it!)

If you're interested, please head over to my new weblog, cephasatheos.wordpress.com. I've taught myself neurology, neurophysiology, and I constantly read scientific journal articles and papers - and I ask them questions! And they answer me! So I might be able to help explain some things. I'm not a doctor, but I've been struggling with pain and depression since 1995, and this is my chance to help other people.

It's your body, it's your decision, and if you're intimidated or ignored, you have every right to scream at your doctor or surgeon. DON'T sue them, unless they're idiots. THat just makes it harder for everyone else.

Head over, talk, ask questions, I'll try to help in any way I can.
Pete (Cephas Atheos)
Pete from Aus
G'day everyone, it's really sobering to read all your stories and questions. I know it's really difficult to speak to doctors and surgeons about some of these problems, and it seems that there are MANY surgeons who are performing fusions who shouldn't be. That's something I would like to change.

I was fused (t5-T9) in 1991, and it didn't help much. I now have an intrathecal drug pump (I'm on my 5th pump in a row) and that does help some. I also have a neurostimulator, which doesn't help with pain, but DOES help to keep me mobile (I swapped one pain for two - but it's worth it!)

If you're interested, please head over to my new weblog, cephasatheos.wordpress.com. I've taught myself neurology, neurophysiology, and I constantly read scientific journal articles and papers - and I ask them questions! And they answer me! So I might be able to help explain some things. I'm not a doctor, but I've been struggling with pain and depression since 1995, and this is my chance to help other people.

It's your body, it's your decision, and if you're intimidated or ignored, you have every right to scream at your doctor or surgeon. DON'T sue them, unless they're idiots. THat just makes it harder for everyone else.

Head over, talk, ask questions, I'll try to help in any way I can.
Pete (Cephas Atheos)
Rajpal singh
Sir I am 29 years old in an accident in 2010 my spinal cod l1 is broked after that doctor operate me doctor put titanium rod and screw luckily I am not paralysed now it's two years gone but due to screw and rode its little painting every time now I want to remove this rod and screw from my body so that I live normally suggest me is it possible because at the time of surgery doctor told me if you wanna remove after one year we can remove suggest me what I should do thanks
doesn't anyone have a good experience with their rod or fusion surgery? Please write a comment.
john brereton
hi,i had my spinal surgery in 1998.the surgery i had was called,anterior decompression and fusion of the c5/6 c6/7 discs.this operation did nothing for me to relieve the pain,in fact i now have to take a drug called FENTANYL patches that need to change every three days.i am sorry i had this operation done now because it has left me with nerve damage and in more pain than before the operation.i know have a great deal of pain in my lower back,but i will not have anymore operations incase that does not work.i am now 58 years of age but walk and feel like a 98 year old.
I had to have emergency surgery because my T7 vertebrae was destroyed by infection and collapsed sending a piece of bone into my spinal cord. I now have a bone fusion of T7 & T8, a bar and 2 titanium rods with 8 screws from T5-T10 in my mid-back. I am wondering if anyone else has gone through this type of situation. If so, how long was your recovery time, can you feel the rods in your back, did you have a full recovery? I am almost 4 months out of surgery and have gone from bed ridden to up and walking with a walker. It would just be helpful to know what to expect from someone who has actually experienced the situation, rather than being told what should eventually happen.
11 years ago I had spinal fusion, bone graft and rods and screws on S-1, L-4 &5. At the time Neurosurgeon told me I would be back in
10 years as I will need surgery on L-3 and L-2. Sure enough he was right as I have been in terrible pain in my buttocks, hips and legs.
1 1/2 years ago I had a Neurostimulator implanted to deal with the pain. It has been of some help. Dr. considers 40% relief is the best
it will do. My pain has now moved over to the left side and is worse than ever. I have had numerous steroid and epidural injections
with no relief. I am now considering to fix the L-2 and L-3, but with the Orthopedic Surgeon who put in my stimulator. They seem to
think differently from Neurosurgeons regarding surgical techniques. I feel I have no other choice at this time but to do more surgery
again as my quality of life has gone down considerately. That is what the Dr asked about. I have to take so much pain medicine to
just walk.I am 70 and was active. I have degenerative disc disease and so do my 2 sisters who have been going through this also.
There was no history of any family members having DDD. The doctors told us that we all have the same weak gene. My question is about
having the surgery again as I need to tell the Dr.when I see him in 3 weeks.
Hi To everyone out there who has Scoliosis. I had idiopathic Scoloisis at 11. In 1971 I had a 13" titanium Harrington rod inserted and bone grafted from my hip into the bottom vertabraes. I am now 55 and the rod has been in place for 42years, I have had no problems after surgery. Total treatment lasted over 4 years. I had a brilliant surgeon Prof Robert Owen at Gobowen in England. I have two children normal deliveries and have lived life to the full. Playing hockey at club level, Road Time trialing on a racing bike, and lots of swimming. I have my own business as a Landscape Gardener. Sure I get bad back pain but because the curves were so bad I would not have survived beyond 17, so being active is the best way to go.
My surgeon once told me "THE ONLY LIMITATIONS IN LIFE ARE WHAT WE PLACE ON OURSELVES". Hope this gives a little help to others.
My son 32 broke his T12 and was in brace and not able to move but lie flat on his back and not move. He had his surgery rod etc. but now 4 weeks after surgery his wound is still oozing pus. They think he may have an allergy to rods and MRI did not show a fluid build up is as if my son is producing it daily. If they remove these rods can they put in other ones or is he going to be left paralysed if they remove them at this stage. Please help me Ger
I was eleven years old. My doctor said i was born with the curve in my spine. My curve is in between my shoulder blades so no rod just infusion body cast for 9 months but i was tottally bed redden for three and ahalf months. I got to have it removed 2 weeks before my 12th birthday. I'm now 48 and have 2 boys.Ages 28 and 26 years old. Had complections having my first child my pelvic bone had shifted and he got hung and caught an blood infection from the birth canel and had to do an emergency c-section. My second child they schduled my c-section and he was fine. But now im having chronic back pain that goes down my legs and can't do anything. My nerves are coming thru my spinal cord and that is what is causing my pain. My disk and vertabraes are disappearing.
I am 31, I broke my back skydiving when I hit the ground really hard under canopy. L1 fracture(s), compressed pretty bad. I had surgery, 2 rods and 8 screws. The most pain I had was the night after the surgery, I shed a few tears but was only on mild pain killers for that type of operation, no morphine buzzer (bad mistake!). I was able to walk the next day and progressed really quickly. The doctors and nurses were surprised.

I was out of the hospital 3 days later but wished it could have been sooner! some of the nurses were really rude.
I spent 1 month doing not much at mums on the recliner in front of the t.v and playing Lego, she looked after me pretty good :) I came home and was out in the backyard doing stuff that I probably shouldn't have been doing, hence I had good days and bad but mostly good and the pain got less and less and the time between bad days got more and more. I was off all pain killers within 6 weeks.

Its been nearly 3 months now, don't really have much pain, muscle aches mostly, but I had those before the injury I think its called getting older. I just stretch them out or get a massage.

I wish I knew if the bones were healed, I just want to go jumping!!
Happy to have found this forum, although a little frightening. I just want to know what to expect. I am 62 and was thrown from a horse 6 wks ago. Fractured T6 thru T12. Mostly compression fractures, but one burst. Helicopter ride to hospital and woke up next day with 2 rods and 6 screws. I am recovering and walking well after 3 wks. in the hospital and 3 wks. at home, plus physical therapy. Almost off pain meds except to sleep. The doctor never told me the rods can break or screws can loosen. I'm very active and don't want to change my lifestyle, but they said I can't ride anymore. Does anyone else have experience with being physically active after everything has healed? Do I have to be cautious from here on out?
i have had insertion of instrument dynamic stabilisation ln the dmt system less than a year later one of the rods broke requiring another op to replace the rod how often does this happen percentage wise and is this a case for compensation.
Have had rods in back for 34 years hang in there you could be in a wheelchair or worse Thank you Dr collins
I had lumbar fusion with 2 rods,screws and cage, in July 2014. I had an excellent doctor,who did an excellent job on my surgery, I think. I have felt so much better and able to do much more than I could prior to surgery. The last 3-4 weeks I have started having some pain, began having what feels like needles sticking me, in the area where I had surgery. It has now progressed to feeling like tacks or an ice pick sticking me. This moves from side to side. This has really slowed me down and it's getting discouraging, since I have done everything possible to exactly what the doctor said do. losing weight, walking, doing core excerise. After reading all of the above info from others, I did not read anything about anyone feeling the needle,tack,nail sticking. Anyone have any info. My 1st year follow up is not until June 2015.
I'm 73 years old and have always had an active lifestyle. I played golf 6 days a week for ten years. Four years ago, I had back surgery to stabilize a slipping vertebra. Surgeon put two titanium rods from L3-L5. I haven't played golf in 14 years now, but would like to play again. Will I compromise my back issues (have had no pain since surgery) by taking up the game again?
I had harrington rods (hybrid Hari-Luque) inserted in 1986 at the age of 16 because of lumbar scoliosis. For the first 25 years, I had two children and lived a fairly pain free life. Just latelu have I experienced back spasms when I sit in a car for too long. I have had two bouts of this,six months apart. I still live an active life and believe in heavy weight lifting (muscle building) under supervision has helped a lot. I also do yoga with modification. I see others who didn't get the surgery and they are in much more pain than me. This makes me happy about tbe decision my parents made but I still worry about long term issues with my rods. My surgeons say the rods look great but I do have signs of arthritis from the surgery. Will deal with the pain as it comes. Currently take Celebrex when needed
I had the first of three instrumented lumbar fusions in 1999, followed in 2002, and the last in 2008. The surgeries did not "failed" but my spine did - kept moving up a level from L5/6 (congenital defects)-S1 to L4-L3. Each time, I participated in physical therapy and was able to play golf within 12 weeks. I have always been athletic and involved in team sports and golf - it's been golf only since my bi-lateral total knee replacements. I do not ride in golf carts as getting in and out and bouncing up and down is harder on me than walking and carrying my bag on soft ground. In fact, my back always feels better after playing golf. I've had 24 total orthopedic surgeries to various joints throughout my body, most recently in late March 2015 when I had my fourth rotator cuff surgery. I exercise every day, lift weights and use an exercise band and was back to golf eight weeks post-surgery. Again, I walk and carry and usually have to wait for my able-bodied playing partners who are riding in those absurd carts. I am 67 and generally feel that my knee replacements and back surgeries have saved my mental and physical lives by allowing me to continue to be active, although I'd like to extend my turns on the backswings and follow throughs. My daily meds are a low dose of MS Contin and Naproxen, but I have frequent blood tests and am having no side effects expect a high activity level. No sad story, just lots o' surgery, but I am empathetic to those having difficulties, as I did prior to each surgical procedure. If everyone has to "have" something, I'll take my orthopedic problems every day - there are certainly less fortunate souls than I.
This is just for your information. Read comments is you want further insight.
Rebecca, I also had surgery last year L1 through S1 with a cage and plates along with 12 screws, and am still having pain issues along with fatigue. I know what you are saying about the feeling of something sticking you. I also have pain in my legs and a neuropathy in my feet and lower legs if I stand too long. I recently had a MRI which really didn't show anything but now I'm wondering if some of my issues could be related to an allergy to the metal. My year follow up is in the next two weeks. My physician has said that I may need another surgery to remove the metal. Sorry I can't be of more help or encouragement at this time but perhaps will have something definitive soon.
I have failed fusion at l5 resulted in chronic pain then herniation at 4,3,and 2. I had hardware removed and new screws put in with dynamic stabilization from l5 to l2 9 yrs ago. It took 2 years to get positive results, however over the past year I am having severe pain in both legs now and a lot of popping and what feels like looseness in surgery area. All hardware looks to be intact. Has anyone had this surgery with similar symptoms? Could the cables be stretched from wear and need adj? I am active and in shape and exercise a lot and think I may have worn out the hardware. Please comment
I have been trying to work out what all the work in my back is called - in an abbreviated form - so I can put it on my medical bracelet so stumbled on your site. I was horrified by all the dire stories and am wondering if there is anyone else who has a positive tale. I had Posterior scoliosis correction T9 to Pelvis with L4/5 transformational lumber inter body fusion and multilevel osteotomies in December 2014. My early recovery was marred by high pain levels, bleeding, infections etc. HOWEVER, once over all that the result has been fantastic. I was crippled with pain in my legs and it has virtually all gone. The only thing is that I do need to lay flat as what I can only describe as the kind of discomfort when wearing a girdle or bra that's uncomfortable and all you want to do is get it off happens in the evenings. This is such a minor thing compared to before the op that I am more than happy to put up with it. So here's one happy bunny - at least at the moment. What I will do is guard my back as much as possible. I won't be doing anything that might cause harm to it and will try to do core muscle exercises - as much as possible. It might not help but it can't do any harm. I feel for everyone who has had problems but I sincerely hope there are success stories like myself out there too. Perhaps they are the ones that are off living their lives and don't look for sites like this? I'm only guessing.
Had lower back surgery 18 months ago. I had a 5 level fusion with titanium hardware. I was told by my surgeon that I could expect about a 50 to 60% improvement at most. I consider the surgery a complete success and I would call the improvement a 80 to 90% improvement. I'm very happy with the results. Seem to be stiffness in the mornings and rarely have to take pain meds. No real complaints so far.
My husband has had 35 back related surgeries, the last cervical fusion of C5-6 6-7 was done 17 years ago. He recently hit his head getting into a car, pain never went away so his Dr referred him to neurosurgeon. Now they are saying he has severe spinal cord impingement and auto fusion happening at C3-4 and C-7. He is scheduled for posterior fusion C-2 to T-3, with laminectimy at C-3-4. They will be placing new rods and screws, with a 6 inch incision. Anyone else out there had this radical of a surgery?
I started having an unbearable burning pain in my left thigh, was unable to walk and had to crawl because of the pain, had two rounds of injections in my back but got no relief. A few days after the second injection, I had surgery, with the incision on my left side to replace the discs between L3-L4 and L4-L5 with titanium discs, and I was supposed to be in the hospital overnight. The day after the surgery, the surgeon came in and said I had to have a second surgery the next day, because, according to the surgeon, the folks moving me from the surgical table to my bed ruptured the L5-L6 disc. (My first two discs deteriorated due to arthritis.) I had the second surgery with long incisions on each side of my spine. Another titanium disc was inserted between L5-L6, six rods, eight screws, and a wire cage was built around my spine. I began to wear a large back brace when I left the hospital, after eight days there. It has been almost three months since surgery, and I cannot stand for anything to touch my left thigh or knee. I am now having similar problems with my right thigh and knee. I had to go to rehab for physical and occupational therapy in an in-patient facility, where I was supposed to stay two weeks, but I came home on day 8, because the pain in my legs after therapy was awful. Both my legs have continued to get weaker, as the weeks have gone by. I can climb up and go down steps slowly and can now walk fairly well in a large store, as long a I am holding on to a buggy. If I squat down to pick up something, etc., I cannot get back up without someone pulling me up, and then it is still hard. I cannot put on my tennis shoes or socks or tie my shoes, as I cannot bend to do it, even without the brace. I was told, at eight weeks, by the PA that I wasn't to wear the brace while in the house, so I could build up my back muscles, so I continue to do that. I have not seen the surgeon since I left the hospital, but instead see the PA each time, and I do not like this!
I'm about 5-yrs out. I have (18) pins and (2) rods in my back. Was on the table for (13) hours, spent (3) months in the hospital. Knowing what I know now would have never went under the knife. But I do thank God for letting me do what I can, without a lot of pain. The lord lets me get up every morning so I can set on the deck with my honey, with coffee in hand and watch the sun rise. Life is good.
My sister-in-law recently had neck surgery. The Dr. used a wire to wire to of the vertebrae together. When she went for her one week checkup the x-ray showed a piece of the bone had broke and now the wire is just hanging there and the piece of bone is just sitting there also. She doesn't go back for a month. Is there any chance the wire or the piece of bone could move somewhere and do damage?
34 year old male. Double Bilateral Decompression Laminectomy completed May 29, 2015 with little success. Going to be having 3 level fusion L4-L5, L5-S1 sometime in February 2016. Current hardware plan is 14 screws and 2 12" titanium rods. After reading all this, I am terrified...
I had Luque spinal instrumentation surgery at age 12 at Stanford in 1986... I had no choice, my curve was at 65 degrees and on its way to puncturing my lung. They did my surgery in two stages, I recovered by pretty much staying home and resting and sitting down at school for the rest of the year. :) Now I am 42 and other than the typical pain from being tired or getting a chill in cold air once in a while, my adult life has not been very restricted at all! I even had a child (c-section) and I never had to wear a cast or brace after the surgery -- only bandages over the large scars under my right arm and down the center of my back. My back was totally NUMB until about age 40, then I started to feel muscular pains once in a while, but nothing constant, nothing debilitating. I consider myself very blessed to have had such a normal life despite this surgery. Best wishes to all of you! - "Miss Scoliosis USA" ha ha :)
I've been a complete T3 SCI for 32 yrs. Due to severe scoliosis that has progressed for the last 27 yrs causing pelvic obliquity & severe osteoporosis. My stomach digestion, lung capacity have been impaired & reoccurring R ischio pressure sores. With osteoporosis of -4.7, they say instrumentation my back bone won't hold. How can I have a orthopaedic surgeon straighten my spinal column & pelvis? Who & where can I call to have this completed? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I continue to find a surgeon who can do this!
Had bad car accident, transported in 2 ambulances and 1 air ambulance, broke one lower vertebrate in 3 pieces crosswise. Surgery inserting 2 titanium rods with screws almost 2 years ago. Was in a plastic body brace for almost a year. No PT therapy only strong pain pills. I continually am stiff in my joints, its hard to move, rise from sitting, bed, etc. I feel like I have no strength and my muscles are weak. It is almost impossible for me to bend and lift my legs to get in the bath tub, car or up steps, so bad that I can't move enough to get out of bed. Had a knee scoped 6 months ago and stiffness and pain was worse after that. Dr.'s all say surgeries are successful, and we should take rods out, but taking them out will not solve the pain or stiffness. I lost my taste and smell at first operation that has not returned. Some days I am like an invalid not able to get my body to move, especially after sitting or laying for any period of time. After I get up and get moving and stay moving it gets better until I sit down again and I get stiff and can hardly get up again. Wish I could have some exercises to help with mobility but don't know what to try that won't do more damage. My question is always what's wrong, why the continued pain and horrible stiffness no one can tell me? I am afraid to take the rods out as they give me stability to rise and stand and what would it be like without them, would I be able to stand and be active? I was told that I had a touch of arthritis, but no one tells me anything else. My original doctor said he would take the rods out if it was my decision that they were put in to stay in, 2nd opinion doctor said they need to come out as the vertebrate is healed and they were not intended to fuse my back permanently. I am 68 and always been in great health, climbing ladders, lifting, extremely active working 15 and 18 hour days and do not understand why if I am healed that I am in this condition. Any comments would be appreciated? Thank you.
so fsr so good. Approaching 3rd month after L1-L3 and L5-S1 fusion with L1-S1 rod. A year and a half ago I had L3-L5 fusion. In aquatic therapy, have lift chair. In brace at all times out of bed, shower or lift chair first 4 weeks. Now in brace when outside. Took 7 weeks to get off 5 mg hydrocodone/325 mg acetaminophen. If I do too much in one day, tend to have a morning headache cured with 2 regular strength acetaminophen. Sometimes I take a propanolol. Use 30 mg cymbalta in the morning. I was on prednisone for 7 years ~ 20 years ago causing degenerative joint disease. Knees are usually my limiting factor. I am 61. Arthroscopy on left knee. Hyaluronic shots in knees periodically. Able to walk with knee braces and TLSO 2 miles hiking with sticks carrying only camelback water. I am able to drive and expect to go on light duty soon.
I had an accident wherein, among several other broken bones, I chipped the c-6 vertebrae. For two months I hobbled around on a cane wearing a neck brace, in constant pain, and wondering why I wasn't getting any better and continuously loosing weight. Until I "Simply Fell down" in my living room. Nothing dramatic. Just a stumble & fall. I laid there for several days, paralyzed, until my landlords plumber knocked on my door and I screamed for him to dial 911. I didn't know it but I had contracted a Staff infection that had gone in via the c-6 chip and made a home in my neck vertebrae. I don't know if the ER doctors knew I had this infection but I was brought to the hospital, which shipped me quickly to another hospital, and almost immediately placed me in traction. They stopped adding weights, and I stopped screaming, when they were at about 80 or 85 lbs. They did an x-ray and that was all I remember till several days later. They had contacted my mother down in NY to get permission to do surgery. When my mother asked them why they didn't just ask me, as I'm an adult of 53 years old, they said I was in too much pain to respond. They did two surgeries. One was through my neck to install a metal plate on the front of my spine. The other was to install two metal rods from my c-3 down almost to the middle of my back. Other than some spastic movement of my left arm I was paralyzed from the neck down. After 3 1/2 weeks in the hospital they shipped me to a rehab where they taught me how to walk again and feed myself, without wearing most of my food...lol. Gotta try & find humor where ever I can otherwise I might cry. When I asked the surgeon how long it would be before I was able to walk again he said "You've got a long road ahead of you". And when I questioned the MD she replied "I can't say. It's up to you & how hard you work at it, but I would say anywhere between 3 and 6 months". I was up and walking with the help of a walker in about 2 weeks. Between my own determination and the rehab staff pushing me, for which I'm eternally grateful, I was walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes at 2 mph. They discharged my in just under 5 weeks. The reason for this lengthy review is to get whom ever will answer me acclimated to my situation and for me to be able to get, hopefully, several professional answers. My neck is protruding foreword and my head sticks out like a turtles head. And I'm in a lot of pain and dealing with incredibly loud cracks & pops that people hear from across the room! Also, when I walk I can't stand up straight and the faster I walk the more I slump over till I feel like I'm going to go face down onto the ground. Everyone notices it right away and I feel, and look, like a freak. The surgeon has been rather rude to me and insists that the rods had to match the angle that the vertebrae settled into. Another doctor said they had to go with the angle that matches my natural posture and that they can't deviate from that otherwise I'd be in constant discomfort & pain. Well it's plainly obvious that this in not my natural posture, and when you look at the x-rays you can see that the rods are bent over way too far. I don't see why my spine could not be adjusted to, or close to, my normal posture before screwing the rods in place, and screwing up my life. Can I have the surgery done over again to correct this situation? Believe me the last thing I want is to go through that again but I can't stand looking like this, and I'm single and feel like I'm going to die a lonely old man now. And I'm sick of being in pain all the time. People with deformities like curvature of the spine & scoliosis have corrective surgery done every day. Can't I be fixed too? Al
hi. i am a severely injured former employee, made to retire early due to cervical disc and cervical surgery with screws compressing on spinal cord which i took photo of off cat scan or mri . had a cervical laminoplasty surgery with twelve screws shown compressing into spinal cord. do anyone know if these screws can be removed. both hands and fingers , both wrists, both arms and shoulders pain and numb and electrical tingling every day and night. when i lye down each night , cannot sleep on pillar or without pillar. either one arm and hands go numbing and tingling severely in about five minutes into sleep with hurting headaches. have been sufferring a long time..family and friends do not believe i am hurting this bad..sure would like to find the right doctor to make this stop. just found this website. any comments get in touch. also tpa has cut off all my ptp prescribed medications.
Hi I am a 48yo female had a L5/S1 fusion with cage/plate and screws. I came out with minimal pain whilst in hospital. Three days before leaving hospital I was only taking panadol. After being home for only five days I did a bad thing and tried to grab something I dropped which absolutely killed when I bent forward. I have now woken to find when I am standing still I am getting excruciating pain in hip area and need to walk to ease pain. I have minimal pain laying down on electric blanket but I am worried I have now done something and ruined the fusion operation.i also get a little pain when sitting.
I am 55, had cage and plate from T12-L2 due to a burst fracture from car accident 18 years ago. In 2003 the 2top screws broke at the heads. Had to have all taken out with cage smashed in tiny pieces, took 10 hours. Now have 10 screws, 2 are from previous surgery Dr. couldn't remove and 2 rods from T9-L4 due to further damage from 1st failure. Had MRI in 2008 of neck and various problems in all C vetabraes. Most due to 1st fusion failure. Now have go for another MRI of neck and upper T vertebrae. In constant pain and limited mobility. was probably a mistake to have the first surgery but couldn't walk without it. Good luck to anyone having spine fusions of any kind.
My husband has had 3 different spine surgeries he is 58 years old and his last surgery was the worst, he had a double fuse done from the C-1 to the T-4 and I was wondering if any one else has had the same type of surgery or knows anyone that has had the surgery. I'm trying to find out how long it took for people to heal from the kind of surgery. He is in constant pain and can find any relief, oral pain medications do not help him. Please let me know, thank you.
Raquel angulo
My son had spi al fusion on the 16th of August and today sept 20th i notice a bit of blood. Coming from where the surgery took place. He has no pain. Should i be worried?
Good comments but it scared me more. I am to have my spine fused with screws,plates rods & cages for spinal stenosis. This will be L1 to the sacrum. Also 3 screws put in my ileo-sacral joint. Is this to much to have done at one time? What is the recovery period I am 67 years old and in good shape. I walk 2 miles a day with pain in my buttocks left side more than right. Sometimes I can't stand straight until I move around more than I slowly get straight. My doctor is very good has developed cages for my kind of surgery. Am I biting off more than I can chew.
I have followed this page for a while. I am now going in on 11/22 for my fourth back surgery. I have had a fusion at L5-S1, C5-C7 and a morphine pump implanted three years ago. This next surgery will be by far the most difficult with the fusion of L1-L4 with rods and pins being placed to correct a scoliosis that has developed as a result of the progression of my degenerative spine disease. I have no choice at this point as the scoliosis is continuing to worsen each week and given where it has gone over the previous 12 months, I will probably be where I can not walk in another 4-5 years. Since I am only 65, a widow with no children, I have absolutely no choice but do whatever I have to so I can remain independent. Can anyone who has had this done and it has been several years since give me some feedback on how you are progressing and how it worked out for you. I know everyone is different and some of us heal faster and are able to deal with more physically but let me know what your experience has been. I have an excellent surgeon but this is far more than what I have previously experienced. Thank you ahead for any feed back.
April 2015 I had surgery on s1 trough entire lumbar was diagnosed with scoliosis and spinabifita after a car accident and told would never go back to work as an auto mechanic. Went back to work as a mechanic managed the pain then 2004 kid on a cell phone cross into my lane hit me head on had to be rescued from vehicle after that one was told 5colapesd disc and arthritis took two weeks went back to work 2006 was having pain so bad just never felt good any more.So more testing found double hernia so double hernia operation more medication actually felt better .After 2 weeks back to work by 2007 had other stuff going on skin cancer twice one succsess one 2009 not good during those years my right leg began to feel weird lot of tingling and pain across my butt strange tingle censation left big tow tingling high and low blood pressure have to be up at 5am to get to work stiffness felt so sick and I began really having trouble walking could not on uneven ground.In 2014 I was at my arthritis specialist noticed that my right leg was just almost bone way smaller than left more MRI took showed spinal stenosis collapsed discs and more later that year was walking in parking lot felt pain and collapsed not pass out took a few minutes but as able to get up and going back to work 4 days later my collapse in parking lot was recorded by camera management wanted doctors note to come back to work .After stopping work pain really intensified pain in right leg can not be discribed.Finally surgery day in hospital prepared waiting to be wheel to operating room surgeon comes says get up your going home somebody on a snowmobile broke his back and because I could almost walk and he could not I was going home. Scheduled next month day after Easter Monday surguery 10 am prepped and operating theatre down said not belong wheeled to the hall outside theatre by 1145am it was go time 10 pm arrived in recovery at 12am was off to orthepidic trama ICU ward several floors up going on elevator noticed I thought bit weirded getting off confirmed it I had feeling in my left toe something I had not had in years. Nine hours later they got me up did not go well I passed out not from pain took 2days but blood pressure pills they had were different than the ones I took that said I was continually asked why I was not using the pain control pump just did not need it because the pain before surgery was so intense . Spoke to surgeon could not believe I only got one unit of blood everything they could recycle even blood samples get put back in fantastic . I have recycled bone cages were discs used to be titanium screws bridges rods got it all .Another side effect Iam two and half inches taller. November 2016 Some pain still different though muscle pain some stiffness no more horrible pain muscle in the right leg everywhere because there was none all said and done the surgeon keeps asking me if they did all that in one surgery as we grin. Today 5 months to two year appointment I would say I would have it again and I have a cervical issue they knew they couldn't use my head or neck to help straighten my spine when times right I will do it again .My advise surgery is best when performed by quality surgeon teams quality hospital my surgery was London Ontario
Hi Everyone,

3 months ago i was in a horrific car accident thats burst my L3in pieces among other injuries. i had surgery straight away as there was a bone fragment threatening my spinal cord. i had 8 screws and 2 rods inserted and part of my spin removed. I'm 23 and have suffered sever loss of function for everyday things. i go in this monday to see if i can have it all removed or downsized to allow better life but just wondering if anyone has ever made a full recovery or had their instruments removed?? I'm so worried I'm going to be stuck being a potato with next to no movement for the rest of my life.
The day before my 21st birthday, I was in a bad car accident . I have a t 12 burst fracture that was treated with 2 18inch rods and 8 screws, and a thing ( really unsure what was used ) in the center of my back that sticks out, I think it's a bracket to hold the rods in place. I was up and learning how to walk the day after my surgery, i used a walker to help for about 3 to 4 months, i still have issues when walking now, but not horrible, just not as good as before my injury. I would say it took me about 8 to 9 months to really fully recover, able to shower without help, go out alone without help as well. This was In 2009, I am now almost 30, and am still suffering from it. I have tried almost everything out there from pt, to medications , to therapist, I have been down many bad paths and dark roads, because of it. It is a mental and physical strain on you . From what I have learned from it, after almost 10 years, is to take it day to day, and stay as busy as you can, and find what does help ease your pain, even if it's only for a minute it two. For anyone who has a choice, for having a surgery like this, I would highly rethink , and look at all possible options available to you. I can only sit, stand, lay, bend, ECT. For so long before a very burning sensation over comes my back, over time you learn and know what not to do, and what you can handle. I hope this helps for anyone out there . Good luck, and good health to you all.
I had surgery Jan of this yr,a week later heard something pop in my back,had a big bump on the incision area,called the Dr they told me to put ice on it,waited 2days still didn't go downso went to er,did a CT scan,said I had a spine leak,went to the Dr that following Monday,sent me for a MRI,so he sat me up for another surgery,told my husband i had a bone snap,he fixed it,now I'm getting constant headaches when I stand up I get dizzy, nausea,blurred vision,neck is stiff,tried migraine meds not helping,now he sat me up with a lumbar puncture,what scares me is that blood laying in my spine for almost 2weeks,I know something is wrong,any suggestion I don't know how much longer I can take this
I had a bad accident in November I was rock climbing and fell 15ft straight on to my spine. I fractured my T12 and the way it fractured it could have pierced my spinal cord, I had to lay flat for 4 days so as not to push the fractured bone in to my spinal cord as if I did I would have ended up paralyzed, I had to have surgery to fix the broken bone and had to get metal rods put in to the bone above and below my T12 as otherwise I would have always had a weak spot in that part of my spine, the day after my surgery they got me up standing and taking baby steps and the next day I was taught to walk properly and climb stairs once I walked with a walker and used crutches for the stairs once I did this they sent me home. I managed to stop using the walker full time and just use it for getting up and down from sitting and laying in bed to standing and just use crutches for a few months. I am now 5 months post op and walk unaided I am on painkillers and some days are better then others, since I have returned to work my painkiller use has gone up but I don't mind this as I finally feel like I'm getting my life back and I hope that with time things will get easier. I am still in pain and doing physiotherapy and hydrotherapy as part of my recovery. Its been a long hard road and I still have a long way to go but I'm so glad I had the surgery especially when the alternative would have meant being paralyzed. I'm glad I stumbled across this page and hope that my story inspires someone to have the surgery they need I know there is a lot of horror stories on here but I know I would be in a far worse place if I didn't. Stay strong people and remember, tomorrow holds such better days.
I am from Aus and had a harrington rod inserted in my spine in 1977, I am now 57 and have just started noticing some problems. I have now gone from 5'9" to 5'5" and wake up stiff and sore in my legs and generally feel unwell now every day. I do exercise but have noticed getting more and more tired. I will confess I have had no problems until now, so have been very lucky. I was wondering if anyone else has the same issue and what have you had done.
Thawda Tun
I also would like to know one. I am master degree student for orthopaedic nursing. I would like to do localized cold therapy research for pain in spinal instrumentation patients. But, I can not find cryotherapy for spinal instrumentation and I can fine cryotherapy for spinal fusion. Please, help me and give me cold therapy research for spinal instumentation patients. Thank you so much!
I had lumbar surgery about a year and a half ago. Prior to that I had cervical surgery (several years back). I’d been falling randomly but bad fallss. So, I went and saw my surgeon because I kept insisting the pain that I felt was feeling like it was around the lumbar surgical area that was done. Dr took mri and said that I broke one of the caps off the end of one of the screws. However, he wouldnt do anything to correct. So, why am I feeling pain in that exact area? To me it would seem because I have a random cap just hanging out and a screw that has no cap. Could it possibly be irritating nerves causing this? Anyone experience?. So, I insisted on a mri of my cervical just in case and actually hopefully why I’d been falling. Sure enough my spinal cord was almost completely pinched off. So on to fusing c-1 thru c-7. Went for my two week mri/checkup all looks good however, my right side of the back of my neck is a bit achy I assume this is normal at this point of the game but, from prior cervical surgery I don’t remember the area between where the right side of my neck meets shoulder area aches so very bad I’m wondering if there’s something wrong. Anyone?
I have had 2 major spine surgeries, 1 major cervical surgery. I herniated a disc which broke the vertebra underneath a birth defect where the vertebra never finishes growing together. I was 24.The first in 4/ 27/88 I was 26 1/2 tired of dragging my leg.That was scary and painful a 9 inch scar and my left hip used for fusion. After my second child in 1995.I started to back pain again. One day I got up and could not walk, my legs would nit move front to back. After getting 9 opinions. I gave up. My Doctor and my husband made the choice on a Great Doctor. He put in Titanium rods and stainless screws. he used the same scar and the right hip, They have been there since 1/12/99. I was undergoing MS treatment when they found out it was a disc crushing my spinal cord and not MS what a relief!. It was so bad it had to be done right away C-5 / C-6 disc removed and replaced with cadaver bone and a butterfly clip with 4 screws 12/16/11. It starts again had a CT Scan 2 weeks ago, The discs above the hardware are degenerating they are bone on bone. Which is what my Doctor said would happen. No one wants to touch it!!! While waiting on my CT Scan report my neck is acting up now tool. From my skull down my shoulder into my arm with severe painful tingling. Already had carpel tunnel surgery so it can't be that. waiting on a neck CT Scan now. I am hoping this is not another thing that no one will touch. My point is sometimes you have to have surgeries my first lasted 11 years instead of 10. My second Back surgery has lasted over 20. You need to go to as many great Doctors until you find the best one for you. If I did not go to that 9th one I don't know where I would be. I will probably we doing it all over again. I have heard good things about spinal instrumentation at The Hospital for Special Surgery in NY, they have now opened one in CT and 1 in NJ.Good luck to all!
I had a fusion in 1990 T4 - T11. The rods felt like they poked through my skin at the bottom. Three years later I thought I was getting them removed but it turns out the fusion didn’t take place. I had to have another fusion of the same area and about 2 1/2 years after that I had the instrumentation removed. I felt like it was adding to my pain. It did take some of the pain away, but not all of it. Now I have a fusion in my lower back L1to L3 and L5 to S1. That was four years ago and in the last eight months I have been experiencing severe pain in the lower back and the tops of my legs. That was four years ago and in the last eight months I have been experiencing severe pain in the lower back and the tops of my legs. Getting out of bed in any position, like the good old logroll, doesn’t matter. I call it lock back and my legs lock up and it’s extremely painful. Getting up from a sitting position a similar thing happens. I’m wondering if I go back to the doctor and have all the instrumentation removed. Has anybody ever done that. Of course I did it one time in the middle of the back, but the lower back seems different. So again I ask has anybody ever had all their instrumentation removed for whatever reason?
20/05/18 I had a fall of 30 odd metres and following an airlift to a specialist trauma hospital 80 miles away from the accident location. Doctors call my multiple injuries the blanket term of poly trauma. I had broken in multiple places: L1.L2,L3,L4 of my back; 3 ribs ; both hips; my pelvis; both thighs; completely destroyed one knee joint; the other knee was just fractured; both bones in both calves, both ankles, both feet and nine of my toes. Multiple surgeries were carried out once I arrived in hospital and was my punctured lungs were stabilised. Unfortunately I was in a coma from the moment I impacted the ground for a total of 111 days so can’t really detail each surgery because I don’t know myself. So they’ve stabilised many fractures with metal work plus one replacement knee and both hips replaced. I had external fixation on both legs plus a brace to keep my pelvis aligned. Following the bleeds on my brain increasing the pressure between my brain and skull each time I was laid flat in preparation for surgery to repair my broken vertebrae, this surgery was carried out 5 days post accident whereas everything else was done in the first 42 hours in multiple sessions by multiple surgeons.
I awoke on day 111 and wasn’t able to talk or chew food. Intensive bedside therapies then began and I was taught how to swallow again and soon after I was communicating with everyone. It took the bones in my right leg a little longer to heel compared to the left side.
Once it was confirmed as heeled the physio started ... firstly I was taught how to sit on the side of the bed then once I had the green light to weightbare I began to learn how to walk again. Firstly with the aid of Zimmer frame then eventually using two crutches which I still use 18 months on although I’m trying to get down to using just the one crutch with the eventual aim of walking unaided. The traumatic brain injury has left me without a sense of smell , random shakes in my left limbs , no use or sensation in my left foot, urinary incontinent and requiring a permanent catheter , poor vision and complete lack of balance
To add further to what I just wrote: because of the fixation of L1-L4 I cannot bend at this point anymore
To add further to what I just wrote: because of the fixation of L1-L4 I cannot bend at this point anymore . And because I also sustained a horrific head injury, I have zero balance so can’t use my knees to bend either ( I have one replacement knee and the other has the knee cap reduced in size )
I had spinal inztrumentation spine surgery about 4 months ago. Tried to go back to work and crashed my car. So, it was said I can't work, by the doctor's, luckily I didn't hurt anyone and only felt pain 58 hours after.
just yesterday I found a way to see the entire scar on my back.
Pain meds and tranquilizers have got me through the process, and I have been taken Ensure to lose weight so I don't place so much wait on my lower back : L -2 had bursted on a window passanger seat on United Airlines (perhaps they design the window seats for small children) ; the fact is that I had to maneuver out of seat, twisting my back and grabbing the side handles, and all that effort broke 4 vertebreaes L-5, L-4, L-3 and L- 110, so a plate co ered from L-1 through L-5, rod and screws and wiring was used, I can feel them going from my back to my clavicle.
My orders were that I can't carry over 5 pounds, clim stairs one by one, swimming in a pool, doing a few laps, and I still have to log-roll and wear the back-brace.i,m giving it another 2 months, since I had a car crash.
.y husband will drive me to work and do my cases for me if necessary, I have cases next week already.

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