Stenosis can cause uncomfortable to painful symptoms. Identified by a narrowing of the nerve channels in the body, stenosis causes pressure on the nerves resulting in numbness, radiating pain, and numbness, along with more severe symptoms in advanced cases. When this condition occurs in the thoracic region of the spine, the upper back, a thoracic laminectomy may be appropriate to treat the symptoms and reverse the cause. In cases where stability of the upper back has been lost instrumentation including cages, rods, screws, and the like may be used to reinforce the back to ensure a successful recovery.
How Is A Thoracic Laminectomy Conducted?
The primary purpose of this procedure is to remove the lamina, the bony exterior of the vertebrae, to relieve pressure on the nerves or spinal cord. As removing lamina can impact the stability of the thoracic area, it isn’t uncommon for instrumentation to be put in place to prevent further damage and ensure stability while the patient heals. During the laminectomy, any extant tumors may be removed, and herniated discs will be subjected to a discectomy to safeguard all complicating factors have been identified and addressed.
How Is The Spine Stabilized?
The spine first has to be prepared for the insertion of instrumentation, typically by boring holes in a region of intact vertebrae known as the pedicle. The screws inserted into these holes and rods are secured into place between them. This combination of screw and rod provides much-needed stability to the spine. As time goes on the bridge, another name for this instrumentation, will weaken and fail as part of its natural life cycle. Its purpose is to sustain the spine following the procedure until it heals successfully. In some cases, the instrumentation will be removed from a patient following a full recovery, but more often it is left in place to avoid the dangers of another surgery.
When Is a Thoracic Laminectomy Performed?
This procedure is typically selected by physicians to address thoracic stenosis that hasn’t adequately responded to any other treatments. These initial conservative treatments may include physical therapy, exercise, and over the counter pain medications. If these methods fail then surgery is presented as the next alternative for treatment. Surgery on the thoracic spine used to be quite invasive, causing damage to both the tissues surrounding the spine and the spine itself. Thanks to the minimally invasive nature of this procedure there is a lower case of infection following procedure, and patients can be treated as outpatients while getting immediate relief from compression based pain.
If you think you may be suffering from thoracic stenosis, or feel that you may benefit from a TLIF, it’s time to speak to your physician. Consultations with Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin will involve a comprehensive examination of your present case and medical records followed by an exam that determines the severity of any symptoms. If TLIF is considered appropriate an appointment will be set and the Khavkin Clinic will instruct you regarding your next steps. TLIF is an incredible low-impact operation that restores life and mobility to patients without long downtimes.