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T1/T2 disc removal no fusion

Kris-NYKKris-NY Posts: 2,207
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone

I guess I have moved over to the pre-surgery side of spine-health. I have a herniation at t1/t2 pressing on the t1 nerve root. After 7 months of PT, injections and meds the surgeon says its time for surgery to get rid of pain.

He is proposing to go in from the back (posterior) and remove the disc. He says that this area is very stable because it connects to the rib cage so fusing isnt necessary. He says the surgery is about 1 1/2 hours with one night stay in hospital. Then a few weeks at home and back to work. He says the pain will be gone immediately but I will be sore because he has to move muscles to get to the disc.

My questions go on forever. I know this is a rare injury so I know there won't be many who have had similar surgeries. I am wondering just how painful it is when they go through the back. It didn't seem like he needed to touch the ribs which is good. I am wondering just how rough the recovery weeks are - stay in bed for weeks or a few days. And what kind of success rate is there and future problems.

The surgeon made it seem very simple with very little chance for complications. Of course I wonder how many back surgeries he has had?? lol

Thanks for any info you can share.


  • is always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Everyone is so very different in how they recover that it really is hard to say how things will go for you. I had surgery a few years ago and I was told the same thing. Piece of cake two weeks rest and back to work. Well that was very far from the truth of how it went for me. I was so very unprepared and I feel that it made my recovery so much harder because I was unprepared. You might want to take a look at the top of this at the sticky titled post op must haves. I do not know if no BLT ( bending, lifting, twisting) will apply to you but if it does you will be surprised at how limited you may be in even caring for your own personal hygiene. I am not trying to scare you at all but I truly wished that I would have had somebody tell me pre op so that I could have been prepared. Good luck and keep us posted.
  • Any surgery has the potential to cause pain, but some of them aren't so bad. As J.J. said, they are different for everyone. I had two lumbar surgeries in the span of four days. The first was from the back and rather invasive - rods and screws were placed and they tried like the Dickens (for about 8 hours) to get my discs out, but were unsuccessful due to my scar tissue. They went in from the front four days later and that was so much more painful than the one from the back. I imagine you will have discomfort and probably even some major pain, but if they aren't jacking up the space between your vertebrae and putting in hardware, it might not be that bad. You never can tell.

    How confident are you in your surgeon's abilities? Has he done many of these procedures? Are you interested in getting a second opinion? I'm not saying you should or you shouldn't but do try to make yourself comfortable with your decision before you go through with it. I sort of rushed into my surgery, but I was in so much pain and although I've second-guessed myself a bunch, I really don't think there is anything else I could have done. My physical therapist agrees with me.

    Best of luck to you. I hope someone who has had this type of procedure can tell you a bit more about it.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • After talking it over with my husband I decided to get a second opinion. My neurologist doesnt think the surgery will solve all of the pain while the surgeon does. Of course each has a reason that might color his opinion.

    I have an appointment next week with another surgeon. Then I will have some questions for both. Although the meds are not controlling all of the pain and I don't want to take them any longer than necessary I have decided to wait until January if I do have the surgery.

    Thanks for your advice. I think I dread that shopping list more that the actual surgery!!
  • when you get that "promise" that someone can help alleviate your pain, you just want to grab on and do it. Shuffling around from doctor's office to doctor's office is very trying. I hope this doctor agrees with one of the others and has a good rationale as to why.

    All the best!
    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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