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  • Thoracic MRI Help - Serious? Not Serious?

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    Old 10-02-2014, 02:42 PM   #1
    tradeof1jack
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    Question Thoracic MRI Help - Serious? Not Serious?

    Hi board --

    Was actually scheduled to have a fusion at L5-S1 but insurance denied it, in the meantime this searing pain has developed in my mid back, like I'm walking around with a knife stuck in it.

    I'm pretty familiar with realities in cervical and lumbar but don't know much about cervical. Here is the findings from the MRI:

    -T7-T8 - Central Disc Extrusion which contours and deforms the Ventral Cord. This measures 4mm AP by 6mm transverse by 7mm craniocaudal. No cord signal abnormaility is seen.

    -There is loss of T2 signal and intervertebral disc space height at multiple additional thoracic levels.

    Any one with knowledge or experience with thoracic issues all thoughts are welcome. Thanks.

     
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    Old 10-02-2014, 07:57 PM   #2
    teteri66
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    Re: Thoracic MRI Help - Serious? Not Serious?

    I wouldn't want to guess on how severe this is but I would suggest you see your spine surgeon for an accurate diagnosis. Just what you have written doesn't provide much information, but this does have the potential to be a big deal, or to develop into a severe problem, depending on what is actually going on.

    The ventral aspect contains the nerves that control movement (dorsal are the ones that carry messages of feeling and sensation.).

    I would read this to say that there is a disc extrusion at T7-8 (that is midway between the nipple and belly button levels). The extruding disc material is pressing on the ventral cord. I would assume that if this put too much pressure on the cord, you could end up with paralysis from this point on down...again IF it became severe!!

    It sounds like a fairly sizable herniation, but I don't know the average diameter of the spinal canal at this level....As you know, thoracic disc herniations are not that common and many spine surgeons do not feel comfortable treating them surgically. You may need to go to a large spine clinic to find a spine surgeon that specializes in thoracic issues.

    Good luck and let us know what the doctor has to say.

     
    Old 10-02-2014, 08:26 PM   #3
    tradeof1jack
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    Re: Thoracic MRI Help - Serious? Not Serious?

    Thanks -- ya I can't find much about the Thoracic. All my neurosurgeon has said thus far is that there's nothing that warrants us NOT going forward with the lumbar fusion. So we're proceeding there if my insurance ever approves it.

    The pain is really searing though, literally like I have a knife in my back. No radiation or anything like that -- just BAM right smach in the middle of my back.

    I was hoping to see if anyone else has delayed lumbar surgery and then had subsequent thoracic and/or cervical issues because of it.

    Is it all related or am I Just that lucky

     
    Old 10-03-2014, 07:51 PM   #4
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    Re: Thoracic MRI Help - Serious? Not Serious?

    Depending on the reason for the need for the fusion, it is often the case that if one has issues with one section of the spine, these same types of problems may develop in other areas. Also, if the lumbar problem changed your spinal alignment, posture, gait, etc. significantly, and for a long time, it could cause issues in other areas of the spine as it can put more strain on it.

    Personally I would want to get a definitive diagnosis on the thoracic problem, as it is abutting the spinal cord. Unless the lumbar issue is causing loss of bladder or bowel function, it can probably afford to wait awhile longer, painful though it may be....

     
    Old 10-03-2014, 09:07 PM   #5
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    Re: Thoracic MRI Help - Serious? Not Serious?

    Ya thanks. Im getting a CT scan done next week now (fusion was supposed to be monday but who knows now).

    Strange thing is the lumbar has been degenerating for years (and ive got some mild cervical issues mainly c5/c6 which is not serious) but this thoracic pain has developed recently and rapidly and feels like its ignited the pain to new levels in both my lumbar and neck. Like its flipped some sort of nerve switch.

    DR says he doesnt think thoracic is surgical yet and were still proceeding on the lumbar fusion path.

    2nd opinion also said doesnt strike him as surgical. But man it hurts....

     
    Old 10-04-2014, 09:50 AM   #6
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    Re: Thoracic MRI Help - Serious? Not Serious?

    You may just recently have begun to feel the thoracic pain, but I bet the disc degeneration has been going on for years. I would just encourage you to keep on top of this thoracic problem, keep asking the surgeon about it and pin him down on the extent to which it is pushing into the spinal cord, etc.

    The spinal canal is narrow at this level, and there is very little extra space around the spinal cord. If there is a tear in the annulus, the nucleus material can push into the spinal canal. This can be very serious, and, in severe cases, pressure on the spinal cord can lead to paralysis below the waist.

    Since most spine surgeons do not perform thoracic surgeries, you have to determine if that is the reason you are being told this isn't a big deal.

    Last edited by teteri66; 10-04-2014 at 09:51 AM.

     
    Old 10-05-2014, 01:07 PM   #7
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    Re: Thoracic MRI Help - Serious? Not Serious?

    tradeof1jack, I find your thread very interesting because I also have a problem going on in my thoracic spine. Protrusions, a cyst plus.
    It does seem that there's not a whole lot of info on the thoracic.

    I sometimes have a problem deciphering what pain I have in this part of my back because I have pain from my neck to my lumbar & even into the sacrum levels!
    Anyway, I'm having a ct myelogram this Friday so my surgeon can see a cyst at T6 as well as lumbar nerves more clearly.

    You are so right when you said "Like its flipped some sort of nerve switch."
    That is a very good way of wording the pain. I'd like to borrow that phrase.

    Doesn't it seem that once you have a problem in the spine in one area, that it triggers the whole spine? It seems like that to me.

    Do you have a new date for surgery yet? or are you still waiting on your insurance company?

    teter has a lot of info to offer us on this forum, so I myself look forward to her posts.
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    Old 10-05-2014, 01:52 PM   #8
    tradeof1jack
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    Re: Thoracic MRI Help - Serious? Not Serious?

    Thanks for the reply. I can say with certainty that something has amped up all the nerve pain. I have a small bulge at c5/c6 and even thats sending nerve pain down my arms which ive never had before

    The thoracic damage itself is very painful but no radiation just feels like and icepick in your mid spine right behind the lungs.

    Still hoping to find people on here who have had thoracic procedures. With the protrusion "deforming" the ventral chord im getting a lot of feedback about paralysis. Which is always fun....

     
    Old 10-06-2014, 06:56 AM   #9
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    Re: Thoracic MRI Help - Serious? Not Serious?

    Jack! I had T 7-12 discectomies done 4 yrs. ago. I can't say I had any pain I noticed in my middle back, but my ortho was concerned at the fact that they were all pushing on my spinal cord and wanted to fix that problem AASAP. I did have lumbar pain at the same time and the following year he did L 1-5 discectomies. I still have lumbar pain, but it is far better and I can deal with what pain I have. As you can see I am a spinal mess!
    I just had ASDF C 5-6 6-7 done and I can tell you this! I noticed that a lot of the leg pain I felt and thought was lumbar related, has diminished to almost none. Our bodies are an amazing machine and everything up top also controls what's going on below.
    C 5-6 also can be the cause of the arm pain and neck pain. I lost my bicep muscle control due to the nerve being pinched. I am hoping that I get back what I lost, but only time will tell. The neck and arm pain is gone, so I am hoping this is the last surgery that I will need. Good luck to you

     
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