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Compression Fractures Following Instrumentation Removal

Started by mikem on 08/09/2011 2:24pm

I am writing this on behalf of my father, Mike. Ever since his initial injury in 1993, he has had, 7 fusions, ranging from T10-S1. All with pedicle screws and rods, along with bone graft. A total of 18 screws, and 4 rods. He had his last fusion of T10-L1, in July 2010. Around a month later, August 2010, he developed an infection so severe, that the doctor ordered a surgery to have the infection cleared out. It was successful, and the infection seemed to be gone. But, extreme pain continued, along with numbness, and unbearable pressure in the newly fused area (T10-L1). He then proceeded to seek another opinion, which led him to start seeing a new doctor in Indianapolis. That started in late October, and after several visits, the doctor concluded that a surgery to remove all pedicle screws and rods. Leaving only two titanium spacers between L1-L2. But, the doctor never said anything about filling the holes from the screws with anything. I felt a premonition about not filling them, but my dad assured me that there was nothing to worry about.
Then from Feb to the beginning of April 2011, he was feeling better than he had in 18 years! He felt like he could topple the world! But the optimistic feeling came crashing down quickly. The intense pain resumed, and a large bulge from the T10-L1 area appeared. MRI's hinted of another infection, AND two slightly compressed and fractured vertebrae (T12-L1) along with kyphosis of the thoracic region. He has been treated for the infection, and has been cleared. So, my question to all of you is, could the pressure from the infection caused the, already weakened, vertebrae to crack? I think of it this way; take a new block of wood (healthy vertebra), and stand on it, it will hold. Now, drill two large screws into the wood, throw it outside, and let it stay there for 16 years. Let nature take its course. Now, take out the large screws, and stand on it. Pretty likely to break, right? You tell me.

Best Regards,
-Trent Moskwinski

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2 Responses


Trent, First I am not a Doctor, let along a specialist in the area of your Father's medical problems. I can only speak of my own problems and experiences. Unfortunately, neither can any one else. The best person to try to answer your questions are his doctors. He had some very complex work done to him. You should always get second and sometimes third opinions. This is a general board. No one can really give medical advise.
I think your best bet is to check with his doctors who have his medical records and are familiar with his history.


Hi Trent, I am so sorry your dad is going through this, I can tell you what happend to me as I think it might relate to your dad's situation. In 2004 I was in a snowmobile accident I fractured my T-12 and shattered my L1 (along with some other injuries) the surgeon put temporary hardware in my back for just over 1 year, 4-5 days after taking my temp hardware out my spine started collapsing (my vertabraes were getting pushed together) the pain was incredible as well as loss of strength in my left leg.They then had to put a permanent cage between my T12-L2. The surgeon told me that because my injuries were so severe the amount of hardware he put in my spine initially would have never been enough to help my spine fuse in hinsight he should have gone through my back and front with the hardware. So maybe that might be a part or reason why your dad's spine started to get compressed vertabraes after taking his hardware out?? just a thought. All the best to your dad!!