Anyone on here gone through a thoracic fusion?



  • jbower,

    That sounds amazing!  I am so pleased for you that you have found something that seems to be helping you.  Is dry needling like acupuncture?  I haven't tried either of them, but am now thinking I should!

    Do you have a spinal cord stimulator and a pain pump fitted?  I have been told that a spinal cord stimulator may be a possibility for me, but we are going to try spinal injections first.  they have said facet joint injections, but my physiotherapist has asked me to research Medial Branch Blocks first and that they should be done first to see if the facet joint injections are likely to help me.

    I am researching both those injections and spinal cord stimulator at the moment.  Have you found the cord stimulaotr helpful?  Someone has told me that they can't be removed again and that you can't have MRIs with them.  Do you know if it is true that they can't be removed?

    I am really hoping that your dry needling will continue to help you.

  • memerainboltmemerainbolt IndianaPosts: 3,403

    I had a SCS a few years ago and had it removed, leads and all. They could never get it adjusted and I have so much nerve damage it was making it worse. You can get a MRI but it depends on what kind you have.

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  • Hisbeautyforashes,

    I know that spine surgeons don't like to do thoracic spine surgery.  Many of them won't even attempt it.  Some will, but they like to try all conservative methods in an attempt to avoid it.  I think that they will only do it if there are red flag symptoms, such as bowel or bladder symptoms of if the patient keeps falling.

    I have been told that surgery on my thoracic levels would mean a very long and painful recovery and that I would be in much worse pain than I am at the moment.  They have mentioned trying spinal injections and a spinal cord stimulator.  I am also suffering with the domino effect below my cervical fusions and above my lumbar fusion.  I think that this is making them even more reluctant to do surgery on me.

    How are you managing your pain? 

  • Shazam1203SShazam1203 Posts: 21
    edited 11/23/2018 - 4:49 PM

    Yes thoracic fusions are hard. I am still recovering and still wearing my TLSO brace after months... My T7-T8 surgery was on August 30th. I still have pain and am having to take percocet and soma every 4 hours. Finally my surgeon has cleared me to do some limited Physical Therapy. Fingers crossed it helps my pain

    I had to have the surgery for Myleopathy.. Fortunately all those previous symptoms are gone at least and I dont have to worry about becoming disabled

  • Thanks for the responses. I have had so many injections that they stopped working 6 years ago. They put me on Oxy and muscle relaxer. Honestly I so hate narcotics though..Anyway when Diagnosed with MS I was told it would be better for me to smoke weed. I am not the type of person to use weed but I tried it and it helped with the symptoms more than the other stuff. I know they do not like doing Tspine that is why I seem to be getting worse. I will see my MS Doc then go see a Neurosurgeon.

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  • jbowerjbower wisconsin Posts: 149

    Hi jellyhall,

    Dry needling some do compare it to acupuncture because they use similar needles.  With acupuncture they are poking you with a needle just millimeters in the skin and in the areas that help different parts of your body.

    Dry needling the PT person feels around for knots and tight spots in your body.  Once found they stick the needle in until it hits the muscle.  Then they move the needle around which makes your muscles twitch.  

    A few hours after dry needling the areas they hit feel sore because they stimulated those muscles making it feel as if they went through an intensive workout.  Which causes the muscle to start working again and get rid of knots and tightness.  It is painless and I'm in and out in about an hour but that's also with showing stretching and working out those week muscles.

    I do have both the pain pump and spinal cord stimulator.  The SCS was due to my sciatic nerve being damaged.  Which that works wonders for me in eliminating the pain. You can have it removed as they have to remove it and replace it around every 8-10 years for the Medtronic device.

    They implanted what's called a paddle in my thoracic area to connect all of the leads.  The surgeon that did mine likes to use the paddle for the spine because you have a less of a chance for it to shift or the leads to pinch or break off.  You can remove the paddle as well but I've been told it may do more harm than good if I want anyone to remove the paddle.

    About your medial branch block, I've had that too which is followed up with radiofrequency.  To me the medial branch block was deceiving because that numbs a larger area.  If you feel 50% or more reduction in pain the they do the radiofrequency. Which then they use a needle to put in you and they try burning the nerve endings to stop sending pain signals.

    Neither worked for me though.

  • memerainbolt / Sandra,

    Thank you for this information.  It is encouraging to hear that a SCS can be removed if necessary!  Had yours been in place for very long?  I wonder if scar tissue grew around it, whether it would be dangerous to remove it.

    I have read your medical history.  You have certainly had far more than your share of problems with your spine and health.  Hoping that you are having a good, low pain day today.

  • Shazam,

    Where are you experiencing pain now?  It is good that your previous symptoms have gone now.

    I knew someone on here years ago who had a thoracic fusion.  She was experiencing a lot of pain over her scar afterwards.  She had some sort of injections for that and they did help her.  I hope that your recovery will continue well and that the pain you are suffering with at the moment will end soon.

  • jbower,

    Thank you for all the information.  Again, I am relieved to hear that a Spinal Cord Stimulator can be removed.  Perhaps this person who told me they couldn't was talking about the paddle.

    My worst pain at the moment is in my right leg, coming from my lumbar spine and both my hands coming from my neck.  This can change from day to day.


    I have been tested twice for MS, but fortunately don't have it. I am sorry that you are dealing with so much.  I hope that you will get some help from your MS doctor and the neurosurgeon.

  • So glad to find this forum. I have had six surgeries mainly lumbar area. I have early onset stenosis because I was born with too constricted of a spinal column. 

    I have had  a 4 level lumbar fusion which I appreciated because it really fixed issues related to the lumbar back area. This past summer I truly experienced stenosis symptoms but on a different level that I was not used to. I could not lift my feet and legs, numbness in feet and calves, nerve pain between buttocks, falling, could not walk without a cane for a long time, but then lost ability to walk before I could get into surgeons office. I decided to go ER route because everyone said that is the way to get it handled quickly. They did a decompression of the lumbar region and handled stenosis that was around bottom portion of spinal cord. I awoke with same symptoms with a whole bunch of folks saying nerve pain takes a long time to heal. Almost within weeks I had same issues with added things like incontinence. I hounded the surgeon that did initial emergency surgery. I think they thought I was just a complainer....they ignored me.

    So, I went back to ER and they decided to do a thoracic MRI. Low and behold it was extremely tight and they scheduled a laminectomy on Monday following the Friday ER session. Some of my symptoms went away immediately. My message is simple don't sit and wait for symptoms to worsen. Go push for this level check. At any rate, some of my nerves were constricted for a long time. Everyone states the longer they are compressed, the longer it takes to heal and get feeling. 

    I find myself very depressed. At 52 I currently need a Walker to go anywhere, showering is tricky and driving is scary. Basically a life changed in an instance. I hope nerves to recover as people state. But I am not patient. Does anyone know someone who had nerves recover? And why oh why have I been unable to have access to local support groups for people who have thoracic back issues.

    Would love to hear your stories and feedback. I mean this is the worst thing health wise I have had to deal with. I often think what's the point of trying to continue working and living in a new reality. Too much is a mild description of this back hell!


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