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Thoracic T8 & T9 Injury

CarolineCCaroline Posts: 31
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:55 AM in Upper Back Pain, Thoracic
I have recently been diagnosed as having a herniated Thoracic disc T8 & T9.
I started losing feeling in my legs which has slowly increased and is now from the waist down.
Over the last few weeks I have been losing stability in my legs and the Neurosurgeon I saw at the Sheffield Royal Hallamshire has decided to clear the diary and book me in for surgery within the next ten days.
Unfortunately the CT scan showed hard matter crushing the cord which has subsequently meant they are unable to operate through the back and will have to go in through the chest.
He is having a cardiac surgeon on standby with a neurologist and a few others for what could be a ten hour operation.
There is no alternative to this, I have to have the operation or I will end up paralysed within the next few months.
If anyone else has had something similar I would love to hear from you.



    I am sorry to hear about your troubles. It sounds like you are about to embark on a BIG SCARY adventure. Try to stay positive, don't rush the recovery, take your meds around the clock as instructed and get as much help as you can from friends and family. It will be long road but it doesn't have to be aweful :)

    This is a great place for support and information. Check out the surgery thread- it has a list of must haves for home (foam mattress pad, raised toilet seats, slip on shoes, long handle grabbers etc) just about anything that we discover works for post surgery we share...

    I have been following the various Thoracic surgery patients on Spine Health since last summer when I was T-Boned and eventually discovered to have several T-Spine disc bulges as well as a couple pretty serious protrusions that are torn/leaking.

    There are very few members who have had Thoracic Fusion it is very rare and most surgeons dont want to mess with them. Keep searching and you will find some information. I can email you some links with more information. PM me and I will get back to you. We are not allowed to discuss or share certain information on the boards- but you can PM it.

    I have similar issues as you but I have just started getting stronger myelopathy in my lower half (numbness in my thigh, tripping, falling etc). I have another NS appointment in a few weeks and I am sure I will be going in for updated MRI's or CT scans to see if I am progressing....

    Keep us posted on your schedule.

  • Oh no! It's great to meet you but I'm so sorry for the circumstances. I had herniations at both T8-9 and T9-10, both of which were compressing my spinal cord but certainly not as severe as yours. I developed numbness and tingling in my lower extremeties, as well as patchy numbness throughout my legs. I had a two-level thoracic discectomy done completely posteriorly 5 weeks ago. I was thankful to be able to avoid the anterior approach, as that scares the heck out of me. But it sounds like your situation is quite critical. Unfortunately for me, I have another disc acting up, and it's higher up, so the surgeon has warned me that it may need to be done anteriorly. I'm really hoping it doesn't come down to that.

    In any event, I will definitely keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep us posted on how things go for you, and do exactly as the surgeon says!
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  • Hi
    Thanks for replying, its nice (if thats the right phrase!) to know im not actually alone as this type of injury is pretty rare.
    I am scared to death in all honesty and have a pre op on Monday at the Sheffield Royal Hallshire foe ECG/ chest xrays, blood tests etc the in again on wednesday overnight to thursday for an angiogram. I can only assume from this the operation is about to be in place - fingers crossed there are no complications from the results of these tests.

    The steroids that I have been given for the fortnight have kicked in and although the legs are wobbly, the pain has eased. I have briefed them fully at work now as they are aware its not "just a slipped disc" as they felt thats what it was!
    I gave the full brutal force of whats ahead and I think it worked. I am hoping the see that as a single mum they will continue paying me - one less thing to worry about!

    I will keep posted as and when I can get on here, but if you want to contact me away from the board I can PM you my email address and add you to my update of friends.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply

  • Caz,
    I had this op in 2003 at T5/6 level at Oldchurch Hospital, Romford (now rebuilt and called Queens Hospital). Like you, the problem was identified at the emergency stage (legs giving way, drop foot, loss of bowel bladder control) so not to much time to worry about the surgery, which is probably a good thing.
    It is big, brutal surgery and you will feel sore and uncomfortable for a some time. But hang on in there, it does get better and I made a good recovery, eventually. I wouldn't like to go through it again though!

    You will be in my thoughts and prayers.


    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • Any help would be appreciated. I am having pain on my left down to my feet also with numbing sensations. I am very scared. I have a thorasic hernation impinging the thecal sac for about 9 months now. I am tripping a lot and almost fell in my bath tub the other day. I have no health insurance and don't know what to do. I had surgery recently and thought that the problem was coming from my cervical spine at c5-6 so I was fused there but still having symptoms from before surgery. Alot of pain in my ribs and chest and left arm as well as left legs. I don't know what to do. I don't know if this could get better for a little is seemed to but then I had trigger point injections that have made the problem as bad as before.
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  • jewel,
    numbness and pain in my left leg and falling over were also my early symptoms.
    When my left foot "dropped" (i.e. ankle muscles lost all their strength) I tripped all the time.
    My symptoms came and went, probably because inflamation in the area of the herniation was changing.
    I am in the UK where we have no insurance issues so I can't help you there.
    Probably best to start a new thread for advice.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • Jewel are you anywhere near a teaching hospital?

  • Caz,
    3 weeks post op?

    If you are you will be feeling pretty uncomfortable right now.

    I never felt any good until I was able to have my first shower. It was so blissful. One of the phillipino nurses gave me some orange fragrance soap (made a change from NHS soap) and I still have it to this day. Every now and then I unwrap it and sniff it and it takes me right back to the day I smiled again!

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    I'm not young enough to know everything - Oscar Wilde
  • and wondering how you are getting on.
    Hope that you will start to feel it was all worth it soon. :-)

  • Hi all
    Its been a long time but I finally got out of hospital after six long weeks.
    Unfortunatley I had the op on the 5 sept and it was only 80% successful so I had to go through the whole things AGAIN ten days later.
    The heart was moved, lungs collapsed and rib removed. On both operations I was given an epidural and a chest drain, which was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever felt and was pretty unpleasant. Initially he used the rib as graft but on the second op he took it out completely. The first op took 13 hours with 4 of those being the anasthetic, the second was 8 hours.
    He did say that after the second op he had done all he could. I couldnt get any movement in my left leg but could push away with it which he said would come back. The right leg gained strength and although has numb sensation still, I think this is due to the severity of my condition and may/may not improve.
    I spent four weeks in high dependency at name of facility removed and then two weeks in rehab at the name of facility removedHospital. With the help of physio I have progressed from being moved with a rotunda and getting from the bed to the chair, to being able to walk with a frame and now a stick. I am slowly getting movement back in the left leg but still struggle to lift the knee so limp a little. The surgeon has said that I may remain with a limp, which is better than total paralysis.
    Having gone thro both operations I am getting on ok. The steroids and morphine have now stopped and I am on regular med/high pain killers. Can feel where the rib was removed and is a little sore. I have a nice scar across the side where they went in but its very neat and healing nicely. One of the chest drain holes has healed well but the second one is taking a bit of time and is a little sore.
    I never want to go through the operation again and looking back, get tearful now and emotional when I think of the last six weeks. I remained positive throughout and tried not to think about the operation but reality has now kicked in and its scary how serious it was and the implications of it.
    I am still feeling numbness round the tummy area which I am not sure is nerve damage whilst they were in the chest cavity or if it from the effects of the epidural which was kept in for a long time, and also twice.
    I am hoping for a reasonable recovery and thank god I am alive and well in myself.
    Thank you for the comments and posts, its nice (if thats the right thing?!) to know that although this disc herniation is rare, I am not alone.
    Caz xx

    Post edited by moderator haglandc
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