Can Spine Hardware Break?

spine hardware after surgery

Can Spine Hardware Break?

Certain spine surgeries require rods, plates, screws, and other hardware to be placed in the patient’s spine. This hardware is built to last, but sometimes it breaks down. In this article, we will talk about how to identify broken hardware in the spine, and what to do if you experience a broken rod or other piece of hardware following your minimally invasive surgery.

When Spinal Hardware Breaks

It’s an unfortunate reality that spinal hardware sometimes breaks. We should note that broken spine hardware is a rare occurrence. Most current hardware (rods, screws, plates, etc.) is made out of titanium or plastic composites that are extremely sturdy, but breakage does happen on occasion. So what can a patient do with a rod or other piece of hardware breaks down after spine surgery?

The first thing you need to do is know how to recognize the signs of a broken piece of hardware. Some symptoms that may indicate hardware breakdown after surgery include:

  • Sharp pain in the area of surgery
  • Discomfort in the back
  • Numbness or tingling in the back, legs, or extremities

A lot of these symptoms overlap with other spine conditions and injuries so it can be hard to identify broken hardware at times.

Steps to Take

If you notice any of the potential signs of a broken piece of spine hardware, contact your surgeon right away. Broken spinal hardware should be addressed right away. A rogue screw or rod can interfere with the spine’s surrounding structures (the muscles, vertebrae, and nerves), which can cause serious pain and nerve damage if left unresolved.

Inspired Spine’s minimally invasive surgical procedures are aimed at reducing surgery issues like broken hardware. To learn more about the Inspired OLLIF and Inspired MIS-DTIF procedures, contact us – or find a surgeon who performs these procedures near you.



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