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Thoracic Spine Surgery

Thoracic spine surgery can be an effective treatment for mid-back pain, but should only be considered if conservative and non-operative treatments have failed to provide relief.

The thoracic spine is the middle region of the back and is made up of twelve vertebrae, T1 through T12.  Injuries to the thoracic spine are less common that other regions, like cervical and lumbar, because the thoracic region has the added protection of the rib cage.  However, the thoracic spine is the main support system involved in activities like twisting and bending so condition like a herniated disc or spinal stenosis can still occur.

If you happen to experience or suffer from an injury or condition to the thoracic spine and conventional pain relief options like pain medication, NSAIDS, steroid injections and rest have not alleviated your pain, thoracic spine surgery may be the most appropriate thoracic spine treatment option.

Conditions potentially requiring thoracic spine surgery can include:

  • degenerative disc disease
  • herniated disc
  • scoliosis
  • compression fractures
  • kyphosis
  • spondylolisthesis

Surgical procedures that can be performed within the thoracic spine:

  • mini-thoracotomy
  • fusion
  • laminectomy

The techniques and equipment used in thoracic spine surgery is very similar to that of the lumbar spine. The one difference to note is that surgery on the thoracic spine can take longer to heal as it involves manipulation of major abdominal organs as well as the rib cage. This can lead to a slower return to normal activities, which is why it is recommended to exhaust all non-surgical treatment options before seeking surgery.