This seems to be an extraordinarily low % incidence (less the 1% of all disc herniation's) But my long and painful road to a diagnosis took over 4 1/2 years until, of all people, my chiropractor insisted I have an MRI done of my thoracic spine. I had every single type of scan, stomach emptying test, upper, lower GI tract scopes and even an ERCP at Johns Hopkins to rule out Pancreatitis (all my pains were in the back under the shoulder blade and seemed to have some correlation to eating) . ALL NORMAL, so you can only imagine how relieved I was to finally see something on an image that showed some sort of structural abnormality, especially because it was at EXACTLY the area I was having pains, T7-T8 left sided disc herniation impinging on the thecal sac.
That's the good news, the bad news is that it is in the thoracic area and Surgery is only considered as a last resort. I have already tried conservative therapy as well as a series of epidural and facet joint injections with little to no relief. I have Zero interest in anything narcotic and have been taking both Gralise and Amtriptphyline for over 9 months, again not really helping (Although the Amtriptphline does help me sleep, but it does come at the cost of a little weight gain, bummer) I am meeting with a pretty high level surgeon at xxxxxxxxl (I live near Philly and they are one of the tops in the country for traditional Spine Surgery) My assumption is that they will recommend against surgery, and even if they do recommend traditional open back surgery I am not 100% sure it is the route I want to take.
I have been reading up on some of the Laser surgery centers as an "alternative" to traditional surgery, however the results seem mixed on professional opinions on the topic (Even my chiropractor, who I trust implicitly isn't 100% sold on the idea and is urging me to push the surgeons at Jeff for an answer) So I wanted to throw it out there to see if ANYONE has tried this as well as what was there experience. Even if they anecdotally heard of someone having this procedure done would be welcomed. I do know that the laser part is more marketing than science, however the minimum ally invasive technique does seem to carry some merit.
Anyway, thanks for reading. Any and all information would be welcomed and more than appreciated.
Post edited, naming of any specific medical institute is a forum violation
Ron DiLauro, Spine-Health System Moderator 11/12/14 17:44