Post Spinal fusion - Found Pedicle screw through entire vertebrae

Hey guys,

Almost five years post op and I'm finding myself writing in this forum because I don't know where else to write. Earlier this month I went to the ER with back pain and creeping numbness. They took xrays and realized that I had snapped one rod (left) and fractured the other (right). I have a T11 - L5 fusion. They sent me to my specialist right away (although I couldn't see him, so I saw his assistant) and then they sent me off for a scan. I got the results back and curious as always I opened them up. I've always thought it cool to look at the hardware in my back. However after looking further down my spine I saw that the last pedicle screw had gone clear through the other side of the vertebrae. Now, I am by no means a professional, and I don't know if its even a bad thing but none of the other screws go through. 

I'm not truly sure if this is the right place to post this sort of thing, but I have an appointment with my original surgeon tomorrow and I don't want to bring it up to him and have him brush it off like its nothing.

Also, on a side note, how often do the rods break? It baffles my mind that they do in the first place.

Thanks in advance guys.



  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,404
    edited 07/31/2019 - 8:03 AM

    hi upsetispaghetti!!

    welcome to spine health

    we've had a lot of discussions on this forum about arming yourself with knowledge. the more you know before you go, the more questions you can ask and the better you will understand. do some research, write questions down and take your notes with you. i've been doing that for years and they always take me more serious.

    please click on the welcome below for more information.

    welcome to spine health

    all new members should take the system tutorial

    take care and let us know what he says.

  • @upsetispaghetti I had a L4/L5 fusion, and the pedicle screws go completely through the anterior vertebrae as well. I was told this is normal, but I do think it accounts for part of my pain/issues. 

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  • sewingkitty1170ssewingkitty1170 Posts: 6
    edited 07/31/2019 - 8:03 AM

    You should absolutely bring everything up with him!  I don't think it's normal...

    I too broke a pedicle screw early on, and the tip burrowed into my vertebrae at a weird angle (L4-S1 fusion).  Then a few other screws were quite loose in my vertebrae, gradually causing me terrible chronic pain. My last neurosurgeon saw what was happening, and he didn't make much of it, as I wasn't having many problems. Then he went on leave for a year.  I ended up at a different neurosurgeon office because I couldn't take the pain anymore.  I had new x-rays, then a CT, and he saw it all. The new neurosurgeon didn't wait.  I had surgery within two weeks.  All my hardware (2 rods & 6 screws) were replaced with heavier duty stuff, and a disc spacer & plate installed because of a crumbling disc.

  • Thanks for the feed back guys. I'll definitely bring it up to him now. I just had an appointment and found out with the broken rods I also have fractures in my fusion. We are in a waiting and watching period for a month. 

  • Sorry to hear that

    Please keep us updated and I help the forum helps during the month to provide you with more information and to connect with other members

    take care


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  • I too have rods and screws and I am wondering how you broke yours? And how do you know if they are loose or broken? That's scary !

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