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Need advice! Texas VATS surgeons?

Help!  I have a terrible T7-T8 central protrusion causing "moderately severe" cord deformity.  Went to a neurosurgeon today in the Austin area.  He's good, just recommended that I find someone who does VATS (Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery) or MASS (Minimal Access Spine Surgery.  He thinks it would be beneficial to receive  opinion by a surgeon who specializes in this before I pull the trigger on Open thoracic surgery. Does anyone out there know of any surgeons in Texas?  I have no problem travelling to Dallas or Houston if it's necessary to find  a good surgeon.   Thanks in advance   ~Beth



  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,486

    hi txBeth

    No one here is allowed to recommend any health care professionals....likely the best bet is to contact your neurosurgeon and see if they can recommend someone. 

    Veritas-Health Moderator
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 918

    txBeth - I did google searches on both Video Assisted Thoracic Surgery and  Minimal Access Spine Surgery and I found several national hospitals (most with very high ratings) that list that they do both procedures.  I even found several Texas hospitals.  As stated earlier, site rules, we are NOT allowed to give any hospital of doctor recommendations.  It appears that hospitals that have been performing surgery for scoliosis have also been these procedures for a while.

    Also, as stated earlier, your best reference might be your neurosurgeon.  It's a small world when it comes to neurosurgeons.

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  • Thanks!  I found a highly respected surgeon in Texas and I have an appt with him in 2 weeks


  • Hi txBeth, I'm wondering how you got on at your appointment.

  • I sought advice from 3 surgeons.  The first thought I should deal with the herniation 1st via thoracotomy and then a follow up surgery to remove the SPS. The 2nd was the VATS surgeon.  He told me based on where the herniation was located, VATS would not be an option. He thought by removing the SPS, it would give me more room in my spinal cord would hold off a thoracotomy for a while.   The 3rd surgeon said the same.  So I had the surgery on the 9th.  They did a laminectomy on T7 T8 and removed the stimulator and he was actually able to remove some of the herniation,  though not all.  I was in the hospital for a few days and now at home recovering.  I've been through a cervical and a lumbar surgery before, but this thoracic surgery is a whole different ball game.  I'm having a tough time with nerve pain wrapping around my ribs to my chest.  It hurts so bad that I can barely breathe at times and I cannot sit or stand more than 20 minutes before the pain is completely debilitating.  I am allergic to all NSAIDS, so I am sure it's due to swelling and will subside over time.  But it is hard!  I am hoping it gets better and that theres no permanent nerve damage. I'd love to hear from anyone who has gone through a thoracic laminectomy just so I can have an idea if what I am going through is normal.  This is a level of pain I have never experienced before.

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  • nutcase007nnutcase007 United StatesPosts: 918

    txBeth - I never had thoracic spine surgery, but I have severe upper thoracic spine pain that wraps around my ribs and makes my complete chest hurt as if I am having a heart attack. I can only imagine your pain.  When you said the 9th, I'm assuming May 9th.  If so, hopefully you will soon have the level of pain reduction. 

    Thanks for the update and I wish you a good recovery.  Please keep us updated as you are able.  If your pain gets beyond the levels that the post-op guidelines that should have been given to you, please update your surgeon's office. Thinking of you...

  • Thank you!!!  I appreciate your response.   I will keep you updated.  I hope you are able to find some relief soon as well!!

  • txBeth

    I have had a thoracic laminectomy, mine was lower than your's T12-L1, it was my seventh spine surgery, which includes 2 lumbar and 1 cervical fusions, the thoracic surgery was by far the worst, I woke up in much more pain than before surgery and in places that I did not have pain before, the reason for surgery was severe burning pain in mid. back, that pain was gone when I woke up, but both legs were hurting, lower ribs were hurting and it was hard to breathe, right foot was cold, surgeon explained that the thoracic area is full of nerves and usually is a very painful surgery with a relatively long recovery, my surgery was Nov. 23 2018, the only problem I still have at this point is my right foot is still cold, not nearly as bad as before but still bothersome at times, it took 2-3 months before I really felt better after surgery, but I will say that I am happy that I had the surgery.

    I hope this helps a little, don't give up on it.

     recovery, the most important phase - patience required


    Veritas-Health Moderator

  • txBethtxBeth Posts: 9
    edited 05/13/2019 - 3:07 PM

    Chip, thank you so much for posting this!  I was starting to think I had done something to make it worse.  Right now, I'm doing nothing but staying in bed as much as I can.  I walk to the mailbox every day and shower.  Other than that, I'm completely wiped out and in such terrible pain that nothing else helps.  Hoping this takes a turn quickly.   I am inspired by your response!!!

  • I understand, everybody always says give it time, I imagine you are tired of hearing that by now, but it is true, try to be as active as possible and I know how hard that is when you are hurting, but when I finally decided to make myself walk, it helped especially my mood and I believe it helps healing, you don't need to walk 2 miles, the way I started was every hour I would get up and make 2 trips around the inside of the house, when I was comfortable with that I went 3 and so on.


    Veritas-Health Moderator

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