Complications of spinal instrumentation

Radiographics. May-Jun 2007;27(3):775-89. doi: 10.1148/rg.273065055.


Despite tremendous technical advances in spine surgery in recent decades, patients may experience residual or recurrent pain and other symptoms after such surgery. The standard history and physical examination have only limited utility for assessing the postoperative anatomy, and radiologists can play an important role in diagnosing complications and guiding postoperative care. To do so effectively, they must be familiar with the imaging features of successful and unsuccessful fusion, instrumentation fracture and loosening, complications due to faulty hardware placement, and postoperative infection. A basic knowledge of spinal biomechanics and common approaches to surgical instrumentation also may help radiologists anticipate and identify complications.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / diagnostic imaging*
  • Joint Instability / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prosthesis-Related Infections / etiology
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / etiology*
  • Spinal Fusion / adverse effects*
  • Spinal Fusion / instrumentation*