I have had surgery three times on my neck C4 through c7, the first time the bone they used didn't take so it didn't heal. The second time they used bone from my hip but the screws broke in c7 so the last time he went through the back of my neckand put new plate and screws and some expensive stuff instead of the bone. This was done July 5, 2007 by Oct the screws had broke on the c5 level . I am in a lot of pain and am wondering why the screws keep breaking. My dr doesn't want to do anymore to me so he sent me to pain management. If anyone can give me info on why these screws break I would appreciate it. I don't know whether to go see another dr or not.
Welcome, but I am sorry you are having these problems. I am also fused C4 to C7 with multiple surgeries, so I can relate somewhat to what you are going through.
A little more info would be helpful - are the screws actually breaking, or are they coming loose from the bone? I have the plate and screws from an earlier surgery in my dresser drawer - and if the ones in your neck are like mine, it is not likely they would break. Depending on the strength of the bone, the screws might pull out.
Still, others here have reported broken hardware, so it is not unheard of. But in those cases with broken hardware, it seems that most doctors recommend removing the loose hardware pieces.
I have a background in metallurgy and years ago did corossion studies on implanted titanium. Don't know the exact screws you have but I seriously doubt that they would "break" - I agreee with BobM that more likely they've moved somehow. Welcome to the boards and good luck.
Yes the screws are broke in the c7 level, you can see them in xrays. The ones from my last surgery I have the reports from the xrays I had in OCT. THAT IS HOW I found out about that last one [c5 level]. I never have seen those. The Dr. from pain management wanted to see my xrays and mri's so I had picked them up for him, he kept talking about broken screw I thought he was talking about first one until I got home and read the papers over myself. I think I am going to go get a second opinion about what to do. I don't want to have to give up my job because I hurt so bad but I also don't want to become addicted to pain pills. Thanks alot for the feedback on my problem I just never heard of screws breaking before especially twice in one person.
When you do not fuse it puts extra pressure on the screws. Your screws might not be that big if you are small. Placement of the screw is also disctated by your anotomy and can also cause problems. It isn't a common occurence, but screws can break. Do you smoke?
The Dr. said it was fused but he had told me that before when I had the other surgeries. I am not a small person I am 5'11". About my smoking about a year ago I went from a pack a day to about a pack a week. My dr. hasn't really said anything to me about smoking but I am not sure he knows I smoke. I am concerned because when they broke the first time he fixed it now he says he can do no more.
I think it would be very uncommon for screws to break multiple times. Being that you are tall, your screws are probably not the smallest ones available. It must have something to do with the particular angle they are being placed -- in your anatomy. I think I would be getting multiple opinions at this point.
Smoking is not good for your spine. The nicotine gets in the bones and can cause problems. I think I read an article about it softening the bones, possibly your screws are loosening and putting stress on them, thus breaking.
I defintely think your case would be interesting to research doctors. You might want to try to go to a Research University for a 2nd opinion.
Titanium screws could break the ones made from abott spine (formerly know as spinal concepts) are notoriously know for breaking.
They are also not supposed to come loose there are many locking mechanism to keep them in place. If you got surgery more than 5 years ago the likely hood of it breaking is higher because there have been some improvements in technology.
There are many spine doctors who do not know what they are doing even though they give you the impression that they do.
I would recommend getting a separate opinion from somebody not associated with that doctor. Talk to some friends and if you hear of a good doctor go to that one.
Hi I know what your going through, I broke my T12 vertebrae 2 years ago and I just went to my family doctor 2 weeks ago because I had 2 weird bumps right where my back is fused around the bottom of the operation scar and it felt like metal sticking out. So I got a x-ray and both off the bottom screws broke off just outside of the vertebrae and now the metal cage/hangers are stick out about a half a inch because theres nothing holding them to my lower vertebrae. When my doctor gets back from his vaction on the 6th I think I need another operarion.
That is horrible I sure hope you have better luck than I have had. I am seeing my dr. on wednesday. I sure hope he tells me something, the pain gets worse everyday, or I will have to go find another dr and I don't have a clue where to look .[ Anyone know a good one somewhere in northwest Ohio?]