Should I undergo a thoracic discectomy and fusion surgery?

If you have been diagnosed with a severe spine condition that has damaged a disc in your back, you may be recommended to undergo a thoracic discectomy and fusion surgery.

A thoracic discectomy is simply the removal of a disc (disc-ectomy) in the thoracic spine, which is located in the middle back area from your shoulder blades to just under your rib cage. The purpose of this procedure is to remove the damaged disc that is causing your spine to be unstable and pinching a nerve root in the spinal canal, and replace the damaged disc with an artificial disc.

While this treatment is aimed at alleviating your pain and symptoms, the idea of undergoing an open back fusion can be alarming. Many patients are aware of the risks associated with this type of highly invasive procedure, and you must make sure that you compare the potential risks to the potential benefits of the procedure before moving forward with the surgery.

Risks associated with thoracic discectomy and fusion

Any spine surgery is going to be accompanied by some risks, although traditional open back fusion generally has an increased amount of risk than other safer, effective treatments such as the minimally invasive procedures at Laser Spine Institute.

Traditional open back fusion must be performed through a large incision that cuts and tears through the muscles surrounding the spine. This type of incision puts the patient at risk for infection, extreme blood loss and an extended recovery period while the muscles rebuild. In addition to the risks caused by the large incision, the excessive scar tissue that develops as the incision heals can place internal pressure on the spine, sometimes causing constant pain. In some cases, the excessive scar tissue is so large that the fusion is disrupted from holding the vertebrae together; this is called failed back surgery syndrome.

An alternative to thoracic discectomy and fusion

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive stabilization surgery that has less risk and shorter recovery time^ than traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive alternatives have earned a patient satisfaction score of 98 and patient recommendation score of 98 out of 100.^

Instead of using a large incision that cuts through the muscles to approach the spine, our minimally invasive stabilization surgery uses a small incision. Through this small incision, our surgeons remove the damaged disc that is causing the pain and replace the disc with an artificial disc to immediately stabilize the spine.

For more information about the advantages and surgical outcomes of our minimally invasive procedures, please contact our Care Team at Laser Spine Institute today.