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  1. #1
    Ksod is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    3

    Unhappy Broken Cervical Pedical Screws AGAIN!

    What is the name of your state? Connecticut
    I wrote you two days ago regarding broken screws in my neck for the second time, but understand my decription was too long to read. I'll try to keep this short.

    August 2000, a practical joking coworker caused me to hyperextend, herniating multiple levels in my neck C4-7, and lumbar spine L4,5. Both cases were accepted by CT. workers comp. 01/2001, case settled in May 2005.

    2002, had Anterior Cervical spine fusion at levels C5,6,7 with my bone graft, four screws and plate, level C4/5 was left as was, not severe.

    2002 to 2004, I compained repeatedly something binding. Was told it was in my head, was sent to psychiatrist. Accepting doctor's report, I continued pain management, had two separate lumbar surgeries.

    06/2004, xrays showed three fractured Pedicle Screws at C5 and C7.
    Was told surgeons would remove old plate/screws, clean out screw debries, then would perform Posterior fusion.

    After Surgery, found out they then fused C4/5 using Anterior approach w/4 screws and plate, but this time w/ cadaver graft while they removed plate and debries at C5-7, three screw studs were left embedded in vertebrate, a small piece of screw was also left in soft tissue of neck.

    01/2007, noticed many symptoms reoccuring in neck with heavy numbness into left fingers.

    02/2007, xrays showed new broken screw at C5 level, Neurosurgeon ordered no further tests, refered me back to pain management physician to adjust meds, I suspect because I settled with Comp and have a Medicare set aside account and no other medical coverage.

    03/2007, symptoms worstening, now develping severe headaches and scraping behind esophagus. Neurosurgeon's office refused to make me appointment.

    Late 03/2007, visited new Ortho-surgeon, new xrays and MRI detected two more broken screws at C4/5 with severe Pseudoarthrosis at all levels with impingment on spinal cord.

    Facing emergency surgery again, I'm faced with the same Posterior approach they were to do in 2004 but now with more severity.

    I was told in 2006 I had a possible malpractice case, but time stypulation ran out as well as many local attorney's refusal to accept case due to conflict of interest with doctors involved.

    MY arguement and contention is with the 1) manufacturers of the titanium Pedical screws failing and their history for failure and product liability.
    2) The physicians fused C4/5 without my knowledge prior to surgery.
    3) I was improperly informed and educated.
    4) the possibility of misdiagnosis, as each and every report seems to have a new diagnosis of spinal condition.

    Facing more pedicle screws to be installed, and with a much more morbid approach, I fear for continued and more severe future complications and even survival. Is there any recent case history on pedicle screw fixation failure?
    I hope this is in better format to read.
  2. #2
    ellencee is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Posts
    4,334
    Quote Originally Posted by Ksod View Post
    What is the name of your state? Connecticut
    I wrote you two days ago regarding broken screws in my neck for the second time, but understand my decription was too long to read. I'll try to keep this short.

    August 2000, a practical joking coworker caused me to hyperextend, herniating multiple levels in my neck C4-7, and lumbar spine L4,5. Both cases were accepted by CT. workers comp. 01/2001, case settled in May 2005.

    2002, had Anterior Cervical spine fusion at levels C5,6,7 with my bone graft, four screws and plate, level C4/5 was left as was, not severe.

    2002 to 2004, I compained repeatedly something binding. Was told it was in my head, was sent to psychiatrist. Accepting doctor's report, I continued pain management, had two separate lumbar surgeries.

    06/2su004, xrays showed three fractured Pedicle Screws at C5 and C7.
    Was told surgeons would remove old plate/screws, clean out screw debries, then would perform Posterior fusion.

    After Surgery, found out they then fused C4/5 using Anterior approach w/4 screws and plate, but this time w/ cadaver graft while they removed plate and debries at C5-7, three screw studs were left embedded in vertebrate, a small piece of screw was also left in soft tissue of neck.

    01/2007, noticed many symptoms reoccuring in neck with heavy numbness into left fingers.

    02/2007, xrays showed new broken screw at C5 level, Neurosurgeon ordered no further tests, refered me back to pain management physician to adjust meds, I suspect because I settled with Comp and have a Medicare set aside account and no other medical coverage.

    03/2007, symptoms worstening, now develping severe headaches and scraping behind esophagus. Neurosurgeon's office refused to make me appointment.

    Late 03/2007, visited new Ortho-surgeon, new xrays and MRI detected two more broken screws at C4/5 with severe Pseudoarthrosis at all levels with impingment on spinal cord.

    Facing emergency surgery again, I'm faced with the same Posterior approach they were to do in 2004 but now with more severity.

    I was told in 2006 I had a possible malpractice case, but time stypulation ran out as well as many local attorney's refusal to accept case due to conflict of interest with doctors involved.

    MY arguement and contention is with the 1) manufacturers of the titanium Pedical screws failing and their history for failure and product liability.
    2) The physicians fused C4/5 without my knowledge prior to surgery.
    3) I was improperly informed and educated.
    4) the possibility of misdiagnosis, as each and every report seems to have a new diagnosis of spinal condition.

    Facing more pedicle screws to be installed, and with a much more morbid approach, I fear for continued and more severe future complications and even survival. Is there any recent case history on pedicle screw fixation failure?
    I hope this is in better format to read.
    I'm responding first to the information in your post that is highlighted in bold text.
    1) pedicle screw failure is directly related to torque, the strength and pressure thereof.
    Pedicle screw failure is also directly related to bone loss as in osteoarthritis or a calcium problem.

    2) You gave the physician permission to do what was necessary.

    3) You were properly informed and educated.

    4) Your injury/repair and overall condition is changing. Changing diagnoses only makes sense.

    You're fishing for a reason to have a medmal claim and not having any luck.

    Cervical fusions are notorious for doing exactly as yours has done, required multiple follow-up interventions.

    You can't afford to not have the pressure removed from your spinal cord, so you must do something very soon.

    I am concerned that your overall health may need a thorough investigation. Perhaps you have a problem that has not completely manifested but contributes to your continuing problems. I suggest an evaluation for diabetes, an auto-immune disease (including arthritis), or an endocrine problem other than diabetes. If all of these are negative, or if you know these conditions have been ruled-out, you should look into life-style changes, such as your placing too much torque on your neck from activities such as sewing, gardening, horseback riding, running, or sleeping with your head elevated too highly on more than one pillow.

    If all of the above suggestions reveal nothing that needs to be changed, then you are just one of the unlucky people for whom cervical spinal fusion is an on-going nightmare.

    r/t your previous attempts to file a medmal suit, you should have gone outside of your county to find an attorney. Usually local attorneys do not sue local hospitals or local physicians; they have to play golf with somebody, you know!

    EC
  3. #3
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    35,451
    Regarding the additional fusion, the doctors could have found more damage then they expected from your scans, once they opened you up. Performing the additional fusion was likely the most medically appropriate choice, rather then closing you up and having you go through another surgery later (with the increased cost as well as the pain and recovery time and everything else that goes along with it). No matter how good imaging technology gets, it probably won't EVER be possible for surgeons to know for 100% certain what they will see when they get under the skin, and they have to use their medical judgement as appropriate based on what they find there. That's not malpractice.

    I can't speak about the screw failure but I know that's been posted on before, EC can probably tell you more

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