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Thoracic Disc Disease-disc replacement options?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hello! I'm new to the forums, but I've been impressed with the support and advice here. Hopefully, someone can help me out.

I was diagnosed with thoracic disc disease at T7/8 and T8/9 when I was 14. I missed a semester of high school as I bounced from doctor to doctor. Finally, the Children's Hospital in Denver directed me to a fantastic chronic pain specialist who focuses on spinal pain. I've been with him for the past eight years (I'm 22), and thus far my pain has been managed to the point at which I can participate in most physical activities and live a relatively normal life. However, my pain has been responding less and less to non-surgical treatments, and I'm starting to look at surgical options. My doctor tells me that my best surgical options are disc replacement or spinal fusion. The problem with both of these is that the location of the discs means that the the surgery would require entry through my chest and deflation of both my lungs.

Here are the treatments I've tried:
PT, massage, acupuncture, biofeedback, traction, TENS, ultrasound, standard ice/heat, chiropractic manipulation, acupressure, epidural
Meds: oxycontin, valium, vicodin, codeine (found out I'm allergic to that!), tramadol, and about 20 others that I don't even remember

I currently take vicodin as needed. I get a corticosteroid injection with dextrose under general anesthesia when my pain returns (about every 6 months at this point but it's a few weeks less every time now).

Has anyone had a thoracic disc replacement? What was involved? Was it successful? I'm going in for an appointment with the doctor this week and I'd like to be able to discuss some options. Thanks!
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