Thoracic Spine Surgery
Thoracic spine surgery concerns the area between the lumbar region (lower back) and the cervical (neck) region – the mid to upper back. Because the thoracic spinal region represents the largest segment of the spinal canal as well as a region where the blood supply is from two parts of the circulatory system, the majority of spinal tumors and vascular events affecting the cord occur in this area. Degenerative and traumatic injury are also often seen in these areas of the spine.
Surgical solutions involving the thoracic area of the spine provide one option in the treatment of these wide ranging pathologies. Often, non-surgical management is appropriate and equally effective for degenerative spine conditions. When surgery is needed, surgery can be done from the back, side or front of the spine.
Thoracic laminectomy and fusion
A laminectomy is the removal of the lamina or the component of the spine that acts as a bony shield over the spinal canal. This gives the surgeon clear access to the spinal canal while at the same time relieving pressure on the spinal cord and any afflicted nerve roots in that area.
In most cases, removal of the lamina in the thoracic region does not necessitate a fusion to stabilize the area. The lamina support that is now missing does not require compensation as with a bone graft fusion or a plate. The exception is when the area is already weak, or the bone removal was extensive. Fusions are also often performed as part of a treatment for spinal realignment due to scoliosis.
Other common reasons for thoracic spine surgery
Spinal tumor surgery
Almost all tumor removals are done using highly advanced microsurgical procedures. Common thoracic tumors Active Brain & Spine specialize in are:
- Metastatic tumors to the spine from another tumor in the body that has spread to the spine
- Meningiomas – tumors in the protective membranes of the spine.
- Hemangioblastomas – occur in blood vessel linings and usually found on the surface of the spinal cord.
- Nerve sheath tumors – benign and slow growing, but require treatment if they interfere with the nerve or are likely to in the near future.
- Astrocytoma tumors growing from support cells. Some may grow at more rapid rates and infiltrate the tissue of the spinal cord.
- Ependymoma tumors arise from the ependymal cells, which are part of the substance of the spinal cord itself. When they require treatment due to exerting pressure on the nerves, the tumor is removed using a surgical microscope and very small and precise instruments.
This is a minimally invasive series of procedures to address thoracic disc herniation and the accompanying symptoms: weakness in the legs, difficulty walking and loss of bowel or bladder functions. Because the thoracic section of the spine is less mobile than other parts of the spine, it has a low incident rate of disc herniation. Because of the sensitivity of the thoracic section of the body and the vital organs that reside there, the Achieve Brain & Spine surgeons employ a minimally invasive approach that produces a more optimum outcome and shorter recovery time. This can be done with a lateral, posterior or anterior approach.
Kyphoscoliosis deformity correction
Kyphoscoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the body both vertically (kyphosis) and laterally (scoliosis). There are several ways to address this issue in adults, depending upon its severity and the procedures are centered around surgically aligning the spine and fixing it in place with fusions.
Achieve Brain & Spine: Thoracic spine surgery specialists.
Thoracic spine deformities, tumors and disc herniations, while often able to be resolved to an optimum result, still require highly skilled surgeons at the very leading edge of practical experience, advanced technology and diagnostic ability. Our surgeons lead their fields in shorter surgical times, shorter healing times and fewer complications.
They are passionate about progressive and regenerative procedures along with minimally invasive surgical solutions. And when it is necessary, they excel at complex spinal surgery with fusion and idiopathic scoliosis correction. Both our surgeons, Dr. Khosla and Dr. Nagasawa are leaders in the field of spinal treatments.