Anyone on here gone through a thoracic fusion?



  • gfishggfish Pittsburgh PAPosts: 111

    Worth it? I had no choice in the matter. It was due to an injury. If I didn't have it done I would end up in a wheelchair. Not sure what the future still holds for me. But, yes I had it all done at once. And it did nothing for the pain. All they could do was stabilize my spine from getting worse, There was no fixing. I have been to a few other Nero's to see if they could do a revision. And they all say there is nothing I can do for you. Just to risky of a procedure, They are right above the heart, and might not even accomplish anything. That's why I wont be much help with your procedure. See what your doctors say, And get back to us. Hopefully its something they can help you with. But I would not go the fusion route unless its is 100% necessary procedure around the thoracic area. Just from my experience. 

  • jbowerjbower wisconsin Posts: 149

    I'm sorry to hear that gfish that's horrible that you had to go through that.  Then to now hear that there is nothing they can do for you is even worse and devastating to hear.  That's what a few doctors have told me a few years back which I refused to hear that.  At first it caused me to go into a state of depression. Luckily my wife was on my side and gave me the support I needed to keep looking.

    That led me to where I am at now.  I heard back for my neurosurgeon and all they told me was he said there is nothing he can do for me and to continue with pain management.  I can't even get an appointment to talk to him about it which is a bit upsetting.

    That comes back to what you said though about them telling you that surgery on the thoracic spine is to risky.  It is amazing to see so far that surgeons tend to turn away when they hear thoracic spine.  If its lumbar spine though they are happy to jump all over that in a heart beat.

    At this point my appointment with pain management is on Tuesday so we'll see what she has to say.  I will give an update then.  Hopefully it is something good but I'm not giving my hopes up as I doubt there is much they can do seeing we have done every procedure they have there.

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  • If you get desperate don’t forget the info I PM’d you a couple weeks ago. 

    If I had a thoracic herniated disc that was causing pain I’d likely try the laparoscopic thoracic surgery. 

    I think you can email your MRI (or send them your MRI on a CD via USPS) and they will tell you (no cost) whether or not you’re a candidate for the minimally invasive thoracic disc repair procedure.

    It’s an expertise and skill he has that no one else in America has.

    And he’s done the procedure (which he invented) hundreds of times. I get a sense of comfort and confidence knowing a certain doctor has done a procedure hundreds of times, on a regular basis, versus someone who only does something here and there.

    Good luck and please keep us posted. 

  • Had a T7-T8 XLIF fusion for herniated disc causing slight spinal cord compression on the 30th of August.. some post op pain but absolutely no signs of myleopathy after surgery. No nerve damage, weakness or anything. Every day is definitely better than the previous day. I am SOOOO glad I got the surgery done.

  • jbowerjbower wisconsin Posts: 149
    edited 09/15/2018 - 11:34 PM

    Wow Shazam, that's great news.  I'm happy for you. I'm still debating if I should go see another surgeon about all of this osteoarthritis in my entire thoracic.  I think with it being at all levels they will not want to go in and remove all of the bone spurs.

    There are way too many that will probably do more harm than good.  I'm still trying to find some relief from this.  I also don't understand why they would have done the stimulator implant with the amount of arthritis  there is.  It should have been brought to my attention before surgery.

    It makes me angry because all of this started right after that surgery.

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  • I am also interested to hear from people who have had thoracic surgery for a herniated disc.

    I am having lots of investigations at the moment on my thoracic spine.  I have several thoracic discs that are either bulging or herniated.  Two of them are compressing on my spinal cord.  The one at T9/10 in particular, is causing concern.  They have told me that if the latest tests show that things have got worse since my MRI scan done just over a year ago, or if I start falling or having bowel or bladder problems, I will have to have surgery.  They say that they would have to make an incision in my side, deflate a lung and remove a rib to get access to the discs.

    I have already had two levels of my neck fused and a lumbar fusion.  The levels adjoining those fusions are now causing me problems.

    So far I have had a Bone PET CT Scan, and have appointments for :

    flexion and extension x-rays of my neck and lumbar spine,

    lateral, full spine x-ray

    Full spine MRI scan.

    Once these tests have all been done, I have an appointment at the beginning of November to discuss the results and decide on a plan.

    I am trying to talk to others who have had a similar thoracic spine surgery.  I know that many spinal surgeons won't touch the thoracic spine because access is difficult due to the ribs and important organs there.

  • L4_L5LL4_L5 Posts: 1,128
    edited 09/16/2018 - 3:47 PM

    They say that they would have to make an incision in my side, deflate a lung and remove a rib to get access to the discs.
    That’s the old school way to perform thoracic surgery. There’s a surgeon in Pittsburgh who does minimally invasive surgery for thoracic discs. You go home the same day as surgery or the following day.


  • Shazam1203SShazam1203 Posts: 21
    edited 09/21/2018 - 9:06 PM

    Mine was "minimally invasive" performed by a neurosurgeon here in SoCal.. They still had to retract my ribs and cut out about 4 inches or so of rib to access the disc space.. Found out today I have a rib fracture as well from the surgery so dealing with a bit of pain from that.. Otherwise surgery went great and incision is only about 3 inches and was just glued together along with some surgical tape which was removed 3 days later. Only bummer is I have to wear the TLSO brace for around 3 months

  • so can anyone tell me the doctor in pittsburgh and PA who does minimally invasive. Mythoraci t7-t8 looks really bad

  • shazam can you share ur doctor. with XLIF, why did they have to remove ur ribs?

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