Thoracic Pain

Surgery & Treatments

Thoracic Laminectomy

Thoracic laminectomy is a procedure utilized to free up the spinal canal from impinging structures which develop over time due to degenerative, traumatic, or even pathologic processes.

Patients with this condition may experience neurological dysfunction in the lower extremities and may even encounter bowel and bladder dysfunction. The evaluation starts with a detailed history and physical exam followed by X-rays to find the problematic level followed by an MRI to visualize the spinal cord to evaluate the patency of the spinal canal.

When a patient experiences spinal stenosis, thoracic laminectomy is one option for treatment.

Dr. Rich Lin in Tustin, CA can relieve the pressure from spinal stenosis by removing bony tissue from the back of the spine and all impinging structures within the spinal canal to restore patency of your spinal canal.

The recovery period for a thoracic laminectomy varies by patient. Often, patients start to experience pain relief after the inflammation goes away. It takes about three to six weeks to fully recover from the procedure. However, most patients experience relief after two or three days.

Thoracic Discectomy

Sometimes, discs can herniate in your thoracic spine and push against your spinal cord. This leads to problems such as weakness, numbness, tingling, or even paralysis if the condition is left untreated. Herniated discs must be removed to treat these symptoms.

Herniated discs can also invade your spinal canal. This causes a host of spinal problems and can permanently damage your spine.

The spinal canal protects your spine from its surroundings. When a disc herniates, it can slip out of place into the spinal canal and create pressure.

During a thoracic discectomy, Dr. Lin approaches the herniated disc posteriorly, or from the back, and maneuvers around the spine. He will gently remove the disc to avoid damaging your spine. Removing the disc will alleviate the pressure and restore the integrity of your spine.

Most patients experience almost immediate pain relief. Without the herniated disc pressing on your spinal cord, the area can receive proper blood flow. This reduces nerve cell death in your thoracic spine.

This procedure is fairly simple and has a relatively easy recovery. Dr. Lin, top spine surgeon in Orange County, uses minimally invasive techniques to reach the herniated disc and remove it. As a result, your recovery pain and duration are far less than it would be with other thoracic surgeries.

Thoracic Fusion

Thoracic fusions are performed when stability of your spine is compromised. This could be due to a laminectomy, decompressive window created to remove a herniated disc, trauma induced from a motor vehicle accident, or even invasion of your bony tissue from some sort of cancer.

During a thoracic fusion, Dr. Lin will place metal screws and titanium rods to lock unstable levels together. This process is supplemented with placement of bone graft either taken from the patient or cadavers to facilitate bony ingrowth and fusion between the segments.

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