Thoracic Spine Surgery
Thoracic spine (or mid-back) pain most commonly is the result of muscle or ligament injury or irritation. Less commonly, it can be due arthritis, disc herniations, trauma, infection, or tumor.
Thoracic radiculopathy is chest wall or abdominal pain, numbness, or tingling that is the result of a pinched nerve in the mid-back. It is uncommon. Nerves are like the electrical wires of the body that allow our brain to send and receive messages to and from various areas in our body. The nerves that originate in the thoracic spine allow us to feel the skin on the chest wall and abdomen. Again, while uncommon, arthritis or a disc herniation can cause thoracic radiculopathy.
Thoracic myelopathy is a more serious condition that results when your spinal cord is being pinched. While even more uncommon, this can occur because of a disc herniation or more advanced arthritis. Because the spinal cord is an extension of the brain, when this happens, it affects everything that the spinal cord controls. This includes your legs, balance, and even your bowel and bladder function.
Thoracic fusion can be performed to treat nerve or spinal cord pinching that results from arthritis. During the surgery, the nerves are un-pinched and the arthritic segments (if present) are fused together to prevent painful motion. It may also be necessary when a disc herniation is removed. Most commonly this is performed from a posterior (back) approach.
In the thoracic spine, decompression (or un-pinching) of nerves or the spinal cord often occurs in the setting of a fusion.
Other conditions that can be treated with thoracic spine surgery include:
Ultimately, thoracic spine surgery, while uncommon, can be performed for a variety of reasons. There is no one-size fits all procedure for everybody.
Trained in the latest micro-invasive and motion-preserving techniques, Dr. Chung can help you figure out how to best address your pain through the least invasive approach possible and get you back on track to living a better life.