Assessment of symptomatic rod fracture after posterior instrumented fusion for adult spinal deformity.



Improved understanding of rod fracture (RF) in adult spinal deformity could be valuable for implant design, surgical planning, and patient counseling.


To evaluate symptomatic RF after posterior instrumented fusion for adult spinal deformity.


A multicenter, retrospective review of RF in adult spinal deformity was performed. Inclusion criteria were spinal deformity, age older than 18 years, and more than 5 levels posterior instrumented fusion. Rod failures were divided into early (≤12 months) and late (>12 months).


Of 442 patients, 6.8% had symptomatic RF. RF rates were 8.6% for titanium alloy, 7.4% for stainless steel, and 2.7% for cobalt chromium. RF incidence after pedicle subtraction osteotomy (PSO) was 15.8%. Among patients with a PSO and RF, 89% had RF at or adjacent to the PSO. Mean time to early RF (63%) was 6.4 months (range, 2-12 months). Mean time to late RF (37%) was 31.8 months (range, 14-73 months). The majority of RFs after PSO (71%) were early (mean, 10 months). Among RF cases, mean sagittal vertical axis improved from preoperative (163 mm) to postoperative (76.9 mm) measures (P<.001); however, 16 had postoperative malalignment (sagittal vertical axis>50 mm; mean, 109 mm).


Symptomatic RF occurred in 6.8% of adult spinal deformity cases and in 15.8% of PSO patients. The rate of RF was lower with cobalt chromium than with titanium alloy or stainless steel. Early failure was most common after PSO and favored the PSO site, suggesting that RF may be caused by stress at the PSO site. Postoperative sagittal malalignment may increase the risk of RF.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Smith, Justin S, Christopher I Shaffrey, Christopher P Ames, Jason Demakakos, Kai-Ming G Fu, Sassan Keshavarzi, Carol MY Li, Vedat Deviren, et al. (2012). Assessment of symptomatic rod fracture after posterior instrumented fusion for adult spinal deformity. Neurosurgery, 71(4). pp. 862–867. 10.1227/neu.0b013e3182672aab Retrieved from

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Christopher Ignatius Shaffrey

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery

I have more than 25 years of experience treating patients of all ages with spinal disorders. I have had an interest in the management of spinal disorders since starting my medical education. I performed residencies in both orthopaedic surgery and neurosurgery to gain a comprehensive understanding of the entire range of spinal disorders. My goal has been to find innovative ways to manage the range of spinal conditions, straightforward to complex. I have a focus on managing patients with complex spinal disorders. My patient evaluation and management philosophy is to provide engaged, compassionate care that focuses on providing the simplest and least aggressive treatment option for a particular condition. In many cases, non-operative treatment options exist to improve a patient’s symptoms. I have been actively engaged in clinical research to find the best ways to manage spinal disorders in order to achieve better results with fewer complications.

Unless otherwise indicated, scholarly articles published by Duke faculty members are made available here with a CC-BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial) license, as enabled by the Duke Open Access Policy. If you wish to use the materials in ways not already permitted under CC-BY-NC, please consult the copyright owner. Other materials are made available here through the author’s grant of a non-exclusive license to make their work openly accessible.