Thoracic Spine (Upper Back) Surgical Procedures
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Herniated Disc
- Lower Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Sciatica (Lumbar Radiculopathy)
- Spinal Arthritis
- Spinal Deformities
- Spine Infections
- Spinal Stenosis
- Spine Trauma and Spinal Cord Injuries
- Spinal Tumors and Cancer
- Tingling in Arms (Cervical Radiculopathy)
- Upper Back Pain
The thoracic spine lies within the upper back area, between the neck (cervical spine) and the lower back (lumbar spine). It includes the twelve vertebrae, T1-T12. In between the thoracic vertebrae are discs that help absorb impact and space the vertebrae apart. Thoracic spine surgery would be considered for a severely herniated disc causing spinal cord dysfunction or unbearable pain, or if one of the following conditions create those issues:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Compression fracture
- Herniated disc
- Spinal stenosis (thoracic spinal cord pinching)
- Radiculopathy (thoracic nerve irritation)
- Thoracic vertebrae fracture
Because the thoracic region has the added protection of the rib cage, injuries to this area of the back are less common. However, the thoracic spine is the main support system for everyday activities like twisting and bending, so conditions like a herniated disc or spinal stenosis can still occur. Thoracic spine surgery can be an effective treatment for upper back pain but should only be considered if conservative and non-operative treatments have failed to provide relief.
Thoracic Surgical Techniques
The techniques and equipment used in thoracic spine surgery are similar to those used in lumbar spine surgery. The one difference is the length of healing time needed for thoracic surgery because it may involve manipulation of major abdominal organs as well as the rib cage. This can lead to a slower return to normal activities. Therefore, non-surgical treatment options are recommended before seeking surgery.
There are a variety of reasons why we may recommend a fusion of the thoracic spine in addition to the primary relief of pressure or pain. Fusion surgery helps to stabilize the spine. A minimally invasive approach using computer navigation provides access to the spine through small incisions.
The following surgical procedures are performed by The Brain & Spine Institute of North Houston:
- Anterior thoracic discectomy or corpectomy and fusion
- Thoracic laminectomy and discectomy
- Posterior thoracic fusion, with hardware and spinal instrumentation
- Repair of thoracic fracture, subluxation, and dislocation
- Repair of thoracic burst fracture
- Repair of thoracic compression fracture
If you are in the North Houston, Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring area and would like an evaluation for spinal decompression and/or fusion or if you have been recommended for thoracic spine surgery, call our office at 281-880-0700 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fayaz.