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  • Rods left in or take out?

    Hi. What are the pros and cons for taking or leaving Harrington rods in a back?

  • #2
    Not saying one way is better than the other, only can say MY experience. I had 2, 5 inch harrington rods in, in 93. I had a lot of back pain and they almost started working themselves out of my body. Not through my skin or anything but it hurt so in 99 I had elective surgery to get them removed after tons of xrays and check ups. It is one of the best decisions I have ever made, my back pain is mosty just from getting tired and not too much. It all depends on your level etc.........just sharing what I know for me, Lex

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    • #3
      A friend had it done and says he feels great now, but that the operation was really painful. I ask myself the same question, mine go from T2 to T10 or so.
      T6 complete (or so I think), SCI since September 21, 2003

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      • #4
        Generally if the rods are not broken or causing you pain, they are left in place. Surgery to remove them can be extensive and lengthy, as often they are overgrown with bone. If you have a lot of back pain, you should get consultation from an experienced spinal orthopedic surgeon about the individual pros and cons, since very case is different.

        (KLD)
        The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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        • #5
          Youch!! Saw the neuro yesterday and he told us that like any equipment it will eventually break down. And yes screws can come loose. Also with the length of the rods being LONGER than the actual bone fusion, when the rods come out a person will have much more flexibility - which makes perfect sense to me. The plan right now is in 18 months time (recent injury 2/06) is OUT THEY COME!!! The longer you wait the more potential for bone growth over them I assume. Thanks

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          • #6
            My rods from C7 to ~ T10 started working loose after about 10 months resulting in a hard lump trying to poke out of my back- kind of like a reverse scene from Alien. I had them removed after one year. I do not think removal increases mobility as everything held rigid for that long pretty much fuses anyway, at least I did not notice any gains, but now I do not have to worry about them. I spent one night in the hospital and returned to work in 3 days.
            Dale

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            • #7
              I've got two (2) T3-10 titanium rods. As KLD said "they are overgrown with bone", so they're not coming out. I have heard stories of the "Harrington" crowd and a lot of them have them removed.
              Han Tacoma

              ~ Artificial Intelligence is better than none! ~

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              • #8
                If I had the funds, could trust a doc to do it right, and they weren't 'overgrown', I'd have mine out tomorrow. I KNOW they cause me much0 pain.
                I am pretty sure mine aren't overgrown, every now and then I get an xray just to make sure they aren't coming out/broken due to pain and a golfball size knot over one of the bolts.
                If I could have them out- YOU BETCHA!!!

                https://www.facebook.com/john.baxter.1213986

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                • #9
                  I'm up for a MRI next week (already had the CT scans and Xrays) with a view to considering taking out the rods - I'm 3 years post injury but my rods only run from T2 to T4 - I have a Kluger fixation (a method of using much shorter rods for the fixation) but still have a fair bit of back pain. I'm really unsure about going under the knife unless it's really going to improve the pain but we'll see what my consultant advises after the MRI.
                  Russ - T2 complete

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                  • #10
                    I'm 5 1/2 years post, t-11 complete. I had the Harrington rods removed 20 months after injury & do not regret it, I would do it again. The sooner you have the operation the better due to bone build up I believe. I had constant pain & spasms in my lower back that limited every thing I did. My spasms stopped right away & I have not had any since, low back that is. The rods were a constant pain. I am also more flexible now, can turn & bend easier. It was certainly painful, very painful for 2 weeks & then eased up over the next couple of months. I'm still in a lot of pain but at least I got rid of one of the sources of pain. The current pain is neuropathic. Good luck.

                    Gaylord

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Gaylord
                      I'm 5 1/2 years post, t-11 complete. I had the Harrington rods removed 20 months after injury & do not regret it, I would do it again. The sooner you have the operation the better due to bone build up I believe. I had constant pain & spasms in my lower back that limited every thing I did. My spasms stopped right away & I have not had any since, low back that is. The rods were a constant pain. I am also more flexible now, can turn & bend easier. It was certainly painful, very painful for 2 weeks & then eased up over the next couple of months. I'm still in a lot of pain but at least I got rid of one of the sources of pain. The current pain is neuropathic. Good luck.

                      Gaylord
                      How long were you in the hospital after they were removed? I also have two rods in my back and man do they hurt, A LOT.

                      The doctors told me mine would remain in my back forever but I can do a sit-up anymore and it's harder to balance and I also think this is a reason for my back being swollen. How long was the surgery and did you have rehab all over again?

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                      • #12
                        Derek-
                        you are still VERY newly injured...I could be wrong, but there's a good chance that the pain you are in is more due to the trauma your body has been through than due to your rods specifically. It took more than 4 months post injury for my pain to subside to even tolerable levels. Now, 2 1/2yrs later I have no pain related to the rods in my back. I on occasion have other back pains, but the rods themselves don't hurt....Give yourself time to heal, you are still very newly injured and your body is still in shock. I wouldn't be overly concerned yet.
                        'Chelle
                        L-1 inc 11/24/03

                        "My Give-a-Damn's Busted"......

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by flyfisher
                          Hi. What are the pros and cons for taking or leaving Harrington rods in a back?
                          In my case the pro was pain relief, and the con was a surgery, according to my doc the only reason to take em out is comfort.

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                          • #14
                            I'm also wondering about having the rods removed. I'm about 1 yr post but still having considerable back pain but I can't say for sure that it's is caused by the rods. My question to those of you who had the rods out and experienced an improvement in pain is what was the pain like before you had the rods out? Sharp, Dull, Burning etc...
                            Thanks All

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                            • #15
                              thanks - this is very interesting to follow. SCI nurse or Dr. Young is it true that the vertebrae above and below the actual bone fusion will also grow together that fast WITH the rods in? That is a possible good point. My son's doctor never mentioned a thing about this and I believe he is a very thorough kind of doctor.. Let me know

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