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T3-T9 Laminectomy and Fusion

Started by jls826 on 11/24/2012 10:59am

Hi Community,

Hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving.

I'm scheduled to undergo a T3-T9 lami & fusion in a few weeks and have not had much luck getting insights from others who have had similar work done.

What was the pain like?

When were you able to be on your own?

How long out of work? When were you able to tolerate resuming a limited work schedule?

Was your surgery done posteriorly ot from the side?

Prior to surgery, did anyone experience upper hip/pelvic bone pain? Did it resolve with surgery?

Some history: Not knowing the thoracic issues, I had a L4-L5 microdiscectomy in July 2011 and was back to work in 8 days (slow at first obviously).

In addition to the thoracic spine, an incidental liver tumor was found and they will be removin git a few days after the spine surgery.

With my history, they think I can return to work with a limited schedule in 4 weeks. i work in finance, so no physical labor - just have to get up every 15-20 minutes as sitting is less than ideal.

I have not read any stories that pain was relieved after this type of surgery. most seem to develop more pain. And i certainly have not heard of anyone experiencin hip pain in relation to Tspine issues.

Although there is noted nerve compression at T10-T11, they are not addressing that. NOt sure why as I can't get a straight answer from my doctor or nurse.

I've seen another doctor for a second opinion but there really are not any other spine surgeons in my city with the depth of Thoracic spine surgical experience as the on I'm scheduled with. There are tons of great spine surgeons just none with this type of experience worth mentioning.


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3 Responses


Hi Jen,,why and how did all of this start? do you have Degenerative Disc Discease, or was it from an accident? The reason why yout havnt heard from most of us having Thoracic surgeries is Bcause it is usually very uncommon for thoracic discs to become herniated,,,I have some spuratic disc bulges in thoracic region due to DDD.My spine is just disinigrating so now its starting to hit my thoracic discs.But again its very uncoman..All of us here pretty much just had Lumbar or cervical isssues.The last place to cause problems is thoracic,,,You went from Lumbar straight to T-Spine area,,thats why I asked is it due to an injury,or is it genetic or DDD? Thoracic is a much more intence surgery, recovery is longer,lets hope for the best, concentrate on that..The reason its more complex is bcause,,think about the bodies structure,,the bulk of our weight n largest area of the body is the trunk ( thoracic region) that area controls most of our movement n is largest part of the skeletal structure that even protects all our vital organs. ( Im an orthopedic nurse_) thats why im able to try and give U a better visual and understanding of why it is so hard 4U to find a surgeon to take on your case,,it is wise to try and find the best in your area, one that has performed and has expertise in thorasic neuro surgery.As far as pain and recovery time,,only your body is going to tell us,,so keep us informed,,B positive,and when ur not come chat w us,,everyone hear is very helpful and caring and we all have a good listening ear.Until the surgery,,for the pain your experiencing,,I hope the docs R taking care of Y on that end.Who knows,,the way my thoracic is popping like popcorn,you might B giving me advice on how the surgery whent..looking forward to hearing from you,,and how things R going,,,,Rene :)


Hi Rene,

Thanks for your response. This is all so frustrating and overwhelming.

I have no idea how it started - no injury or accident. DDD apparently caused my my lumbar issues but they are not too certain what the culprit is behind the Thoracic issues. FORTUNATELY, my Cervical is 100% normal - it does have tons of perineural cysts, which I have throughout my spine along with schmorl nodes.

You are right about the difficulty in finding a neurosurg with Thoracic expertise. In NYC, there is really only 1 - all of the other great spine surgeons avoid the T-Spine unless absolutely necessary, and only a few have researched TSpine related things.

The surgeon I've seen has done a lot of research, training, etc., when it comes to T-Spine issues and MIS techniques in addressing them. BUT his office is very, very, very unpleasant to work with. He tells me something different his nurse says and forget about the admin staff. I saw him in early September and there is still lots of unnecessary back and forth over their miscommunication with each other and with me. The surgeon even followed up with me after having more imaging done saying he didn't recommend surgery then when I questioned him because it explicitly contradicted what he told me in the office, he said he didn't have my chart and will get back to me. That took a 1 1/2 wks and it only happened because I saw my neurologist who gave me his consultation notes indicating surgery and she followed-up with him on it.

Sigh. Great surgeon or not, I am very unsettled about moving forward with surgery with someone who is and has an office that is so disorganized (and I've done a lot of work in comparable surgical departments and tend to advocate and love surgeons). I do like my surgeon, he is nice and resorts to giving PTs his cell phone, but there just seems to be SOOOO much miscommunication. Even this morning there was grueling counterproductive conversations with this office.

I thought it was me but I've seen 4 doctors (2 for spine) at two other major hospitals in NYC, one being "hard" to get into, and have had no issues whatsoever - all which I resorted to making AFTER a month of the gross mishaps with his office.


I had a microscopic lumbar discectomy in June 2011 and a Fusion in October 2012. I am just recovering from the Fusion surgery and it is not what I expected. However, before, I get into that, I will try to answer your questions. The pain was rough in my right leg at first before surgery and I expected relief. However, after the fusion, the pain went to my left leg and was more of a numbness accompanied by soreness and occasional muscle spasms. Presently, I am scheduled for another follow-up with my surgeon who stated he would probably recommend a MRI. In my opinion, I may have a pinched or defective nerve from the surgery. My surgery was done from my back. I stayed in the hospital three days and went home. I did not experience hip bone pain. Personally, I doubt if you can return to work in four weeks even with a limited schedule. A lot depends on whether you continue to have pain and nerve numbness after the surgery. I am presently able to perform most normal functions except bending, lifting, and twisting (BLT). Climbing stairs is slow. Sleeping is a drag. I am taking the high-powered acetephenotin (spellling?) but increased use can cause liver damage. You are right, from what I can see, including me, you can develop more pain after surgery. How long that takes to go away is a long shot. In summary, the surgery is easy, the recovery is difficult if you develop more pain and numbness. It would pay you to find an excellent neurosurgeon even if you have to go out of town. Right now, I am trying to fight the nerve pain and numbness in my right leg along with some decrease in toe and foot movement. Walking and movement seems to help. I will find out what the doctor intends to do when I see him on December 17th. He did mention going back in for more surgery. I don't know anything about neck problems. If you have anything else, let me know. My neurosurgeon is excellent, in my opinion. Sorry about your NYC problems. I am in Northern Alabama and the medical facilities are excellent.