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T11-12 Herniated Disc - To operate or not?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:30 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
Hello everyone,I'm writing on behalf of my partner. He is 38, had an L5/6 fusion/laminectomy 8 years ago which seems to be settling well. A year ago,(we think probably related to road running),he herniated T11/12. He had an MRI that showed the disc to be calcified & very small.We met with consultants who told us that he should try walking, swimming, painkillers etc and see how he got on. 12 months later,he is still in agony everyday & suffering weakness & tremors in his arms & leg and sciatic leg pains.We try different routines of swimming,walking,red wine,painkillers,lying still,floor exercises,gentle massage etc to no avail.Our GP has referred us back to the consultant.One option is surgery,the other is a life of painkillers & depression. We know that due to the state of the disc there is a high chance that the surgeon will perform a fusion whilst they're in doing the decompression. Does anyone have any experience of life after fusion in this area? Thanks Sarah


  • Hi Sarah,
    I Had this surgery on the 25th of Feb. I am still recovering. I had to have the fusion and my disk was penatrating the spinal column. They had to go thru my side and remove 2 ribs on me where I was told just 1 would be removed, but it was necessary to do 2. Its a very painful recovery. Still have the feet numbness and my side is still numb. Dr told me two weeks ago its a long recovery process. I didn't start driving til 8 weeks after. I swore I would never do iit again, but as good as my back feels now except for the muscle spasams now and then I probably would. This was my 3rd surgery the other two were a laminectomy and fusion in the lower back. I'm sure theres others that can have different opinions but for me, i chose surgery over the opiats i've been taking. Sherry
  • Thanks Sherry, that's valuable information. Simon has just called, he's had to cancel work again today, so another depressing day. How long were you in pain before you had the surgery? Did you have to push for it, or was your GP proactive? Were you advised against it?
    Hope you're having a better day today
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  • I have an unbelievable number of disc problems in the thoracic area. I have herniations from t6-7 down to t11-12. I have had 4 MRIs. I meet with my surgeon tomorrow to see what the plan is. Last year, I had 3 disc removed in my neck. I have 3 bad ones in the lumbar, but the worst seem to be in the thoracic. I can not walk very far. I take pain meds and still have constant pain. I was wanting to know if you had to go far to find a specialist to work on the thoracic. My surgeon said he would probably send me somewhere else last time I saw him. Thanks and I wish you success with your recovery.
  • I wasn't giving much of a choice as the disk was penatrating into my spinal column, had problems emptying my bladder too. So it was either the surgery have that get worse and the pain worse. I was only a few millimeters from some kind of permanant damage or even worse not being able to walk. actually mine was L1,T12,T11...I had seen the beuro surgeon for over 5 yrs, but they were concentration on the lower problems. I've had 3 drs tell me my spine was a mess from top to bottom. I hope this was the last surgery, i know it was the worse. My GP knew I was in pain and told we a week before my neuro's appt that I was going to need more surgery and he told me it would be a rough one. I did wind up in ICU for 3 days because the morphine made my blood pressure drop too low. I had warned them it did, but worse then the last two surgeries. So now its on my record no morphine...Good luck to your husband...Sherry
    p.s. keep me posted
  • I have Spinal Stenosis, Osteoporosis and Arthritis and had L1-L5 surgery in 2007, A failed surgery on C5 through C7 because of Osteoporosis in Nov 2010 and 2 more surgeries in Jan 2011 and Jul 2011 for a cage for C5-T1 to be built to hold the discs in place. I will admit when he went through the back of my neck for the 3rd surgery, it was brutal and recovery was just as brutal and took a long time to heal. I have had a shunt in the Arachnoid layer of my brain for Arachnoid Cyst that was discovered in 1995. The valve that is draining the cyst was pushed through the cyst during the last surgery or it could have been pushed from all of the falling that I did when I returned from the hospital. My legs did not start waking up until Sept-Oct and I had a broken ankle from the falls, but it had already healed. My balance is off, I can trip by just walking in my tennis shoes and if I have to step over something, I lose my balance. I only wear hard bottom shoes so I can walk heel to toe. I thought that this was because of the cyst that was 4.0cm before surgeries and after a CT Scan in 12/12, it had grown to 4.4cm. I had a MRI on the cyst this week and I saw where it was 4.8cm now. Yes, I peeked at my results, I can almost read these test results as well as anyone else. My surgeon wanted to rule out the valve causing my problems with the MRI results because the shunt is located right behind my neck almost at the spine and where the cage was built. I was thinking the cyst was my problem and I just forgot to take another look at the full report from Dec, 2012 about T11-T12 which stated they were severely herniated.. My surgeon brought this to my attention and said that T11-T12 was the cause of my balance problems. I have been searching for the function of T11-T12 and cannot seem to find it on any website....then I found you...I trust my surgeons, but need answers to the function of these discs which are causing spasms 24/7 and when I am tired or just get up, I walk humped over...
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  • http://www.backpain-guide.com/Chapter_Fig_folders/Ch06_Path_Folder/Ch06_Images/06-4 Radiculopathy.jpg

    Here is a link to the dermatome map. As you can see, each level of the spine innervates certain areas of the body. This might help explain what areas of your body are impacted by the thoracic problems.
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