Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program
Quickie Consult 168
“Clinical Comments Surgical Rods Breaking”
I was asked to find information on a case for an attorney. I don’t know where to start, so I was hoping you could help point me in the right direction. The patient had rods implanted due to scoliosis in July, 2005 from T2 to her pelvis. She was involved in an MVA on 1/20/09 and felt immediate LBP. In April, 2009 she twisted and noticed a “pop” in her lower back. X-rays showed a fracture of the rod between L3 and L4 on the right. The same surgeon removed the hardware and implanted a new rod.
The attorney is looking for information on the rods to determine if he should take the case. He's looking into a product liability case. The information collected so far is: the rod that broke is a Danek, the new implanted rod is made by Danek. The materials list from the surgery in 2010 indicates use of Medtronic Sofamor Danek Stainless Steel Rods 5.5 mm. They are looking for any information regarding these rods and if there were any product recalls in this regard.
I will look for the answer. If you have input, please let me know.
I talked with Dr. Fishkin regarding the scoliosis case. He explained that the rods are meant to stabilize the spine to keep the spine from moving while union of the bone takes place. If there is nonunion in a particular area, then there is motion in that area which puts stress on the rod in that particular area. Eventually, the rod will break because of the excess motion. The metal gets fatigued and fractures. He opined that there was motion/nonunion around that level where the fracture was.
It's like bending a piece of metal over and over again. Eventually, it will break. He said it is not a good case for product liability. There is too much research against it.