Minimally invasive (MI) thoracic discectomy is a surgical technique performed on the middle back that is designed to cause minimal trauma to a patient’s body and often results in shorter hospital stays and less pain. In ordinary open surgery, a thoracic discectomy involves a large cut to the skin, the cutting away of muscle and ligaments from the patient’s bone to get to the spine, and, sometimes, disturbing the patient’s ribs. With minimally invasive thoracic discectomy, the incision is a fraction of the size, and special tubing, techniques and instrumentation allow surgeons to access the spine without causing as much damage to the muscles and ligaments.
If you have experienced severe pain, weakness or numbness in the arms and or legs, your doctor may recommend discectomy. The surgery is performed to alleviate pressure on the nerves in or along the spinal column caused by bulging discs between vertebrae.
Thoracic discectomies involve making a small incision in the patient’s back. In the minimally invasive surgical procedure, narrow tubes are then inserted at the incision and through the muscles and tissues. The surgeon then uses special instruments to perform the surgery through the tubes, removing parts of the offending disc, which relieves pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord.
Thoracic discectomy might be recommended if other forms of treatment – such as physical therapy, heat treatments, medication and rest – fail to relieve the patient’s pain.