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thoracic surgery?

dp927ddp927 Posts: 1
edited 09/05/2012 - 6:53 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Date of injury: August 9, 2011 - felt a pop with an immediate burning sensation. Pain did not subside after light restrictions and anti-inflammatories for 2 weeks.

12/12/11 MRI results (yes, I had to ask for an MRI 4 months after my injury):

T8/9-disc desiccation, right paracentral annular tear, broad-based right paracentral disc protrusion, neuroforaminal narrowing, spondylosis

T9/10-left paracentral annular tear, broad-based central disc protrusion, mild disc desiccation, small anterior osteophytes, spondylosis

T10/11-1mm of anterolisthesis, broad based central disc protrusion with bilateral paracentral extension of disc, spondylosis

Mild scoliosis concave to the right

Current symptoms: pain and burning along the right side of my spine (midback area), especially with my right arm moving in certain directions or with repetitous movements. Can not lift more than 10 pounds without pain and/or burning over an extended period of time. Driving over bumps or sitting down awkwardly causes severe pain. Spinal manipulation is very painful. Recently, I have been getting twitches from my waist down to the arches of my feet. The twitching is mostly in my calves, quads and hamstrings. I will also get a random patch of goosebumps on my right quad and it isn't even provoked by cold air/weather. I'm constantly cracking the facet joints when the muscles tighten. No loss of motor control/bladder/bowel and lots of ice.

Current meds: Tramadol and Zanaflex

I also use a TENS/EMS unit which numbs the area and a hyperextension brace for support.

Former treatments: PT, ultrasound, Graston technique, chiropractics (OUCH!!), trigger point injections (with and without cortisone), polomar laser, epidural steroid injections, fact blocks/rhizotmies

This was a work injury and I have recently closed the case since all workers comp insurance companies are... well, ya know.... a bunch of nasty swear words for terrible people. It was the absolute worst experience to go through and I highly recommend to everyone to get a lawyer ASAP if you're ever hurt on the job. The insurance company and even your employer will try to walk all over you if you're not careful. Thank goodness I had a very well trained lawyer with a lot of experience.

Now onto my concerns....

I am PATIENTLY waiting for state insurance to come through so I can see a spinal orthopedic surgeon but I wanted to get more information on what to expect as far as thoracic spine surgery. I have looked at my doctors credentials and he specializes in thoracic spinal surgeries. The hospital is top notch for its neurology center as well so I think I lucked out overall with this being a tough area to deal with. It's unfortunate I have to wait so long for insurance since the state makes you wait several weeks.

For anyone who has had an anterior thorascopic approach, what can I expect to have right out of surgery as I am waking up? Do they require a foley catheter for this surgery? Do they put a line in your neck? I'm thinking if they are doing this approach, I'm hoping they can do a microdiscectomy. I'm not sure how the curvature of the scoliosis plays in dealing with the injury but it seems it's a coincidental finding or even a positional issue when I had the MRI. I never had any back issues until the date of injury so that's why I am thinking it's just coincidental and a non-factor. What is the overall healing time for a microdiscectomy with this approach? And for a fusion? How long is a typical hospital stay? Do you have to go to the ICU or can you go into a recovery room after waking up? IMy doctor is pretty experienced with this approach so that's why I am thinking he will use this surgery as a way to get to the 8/9 herniation that's hitting the nerve.

I also saw that some doctors perform a lateral percutaneous microdiscectomy for thoracic herniations. Has anyone had this type of procedure for the thoracic spine?

How about a posterior laproscopic microdiscectomy?

What is the effectiveness for discography and/or a nucleoplasty? What are the chances of a re-herniation after either of these?

I am very active in my life and I haven't been able to do anything for over a year. It's in my best interest, especially at 28 with no kids yet, that the most effective treatment be performed since I don't want to re-herniate these disc(s) or go through another surgical procedure for this area. I have no more tolerance for this pain anymore.

Any feedback, information or experiences about my questions would be appreciated


  • paulayonoppaulayono Posts: 57
    edited 11/03/2012 - 10:57 AM
    Hi, my symptoms started around August 8th and progressed as I continued to exercise hard not knowing what was going on. I also have mild scoliosis which I have always known. I have a large central disk herniation at t6 t7. I am scheduled for surgery this Tuesday November 6th. The approach is from the side working behind my lungs through a small incision. They said 3-5 days in the hospital but it may be longer depending how I do. He is putting in 2 small titanium rods to support where the disk was.

    I am going to post about my recovery in the thread November surgeries. In the meantime I am trying to get as much info as. Can and learn what to expect.

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