Pseudarthrosis due to galvanic corrosion presenting as subarachnoid hemorrhage

Rosemary Noel Beavers, Rishi Rajiv Lall, Juan Ortega Barnett, Sohum Kiran Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two unlike metals near one another can break down as they move toward electrochemical equilibrium resulting in galvanic corrosion. We describe a case of electrochemical corrosion resulting in pseudarthrosis, followed by instrumentation failure leading to subarachnoid hemorrhage. A 53-year-old female with a history of cervical instability and two separate prior cervical fusion surgery with sublaminar cables presented with new onset severe neck pain. Restricted range of motion in her neck and bilateral Hoffman's was noted. X-ray of her cervical spine was negative. A noncontrast CT scan of her head and neck showed subarachnoid hemorrhage in the prepontine and cervicomedullary cisterns. Neurosurgical intervention involved removal of prior stainless steel and titanium cables, repair of cerebrospinal fluid leak, and nonsegmental C1-C3 instrumented fusion. She tolerated the surgery well and followed up without complication. Galvanic corrosion of the Brook's fusion secondary to current flow between dissimilar metal alloys resulted in catastrophic instrumentation failure and subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-158
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Galvanic corrosion
  • pseudarthrosis
  • subarachnoid hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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