I had a spinal fusion six months ago that didn't turn out as expected. The rods and screws used to hold the bones together got infected and loosened up. What causes this to happen? Did I do something wrong?

It's not clear why some patients have these kinds of problems after this type of surgery. While patients question whether they did something wrong, insurance companies are asking if the surgeon is at fault.

It's possible the nature of the operation and the patient's tissues are the real keys. Rods and screws are used to hold the spine together and to add stability while healing and the final fusion take place.

In order to get the screws into the bone, the deep, stabilizing muscles of the back are cut and pulled away from the bone. At the same time tiny nerves to the joints are cut. Other supportive structures are weakened by the operation. Recovery can be slowed or complicated by problems because of these changes.