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Tony asked...

I have been diagnosed with a disc proturberance in my thoracic spine.

I have been diagnosed with a disc proturberance in my thoracic spine [t7/t8]which is causing pain through my abdomen on the right and down my left leg from my knee to my ankle/foot i have been refered to a neuro surgeon is there any other options then surgery?. this problem has been slowly worsening over a 18mth period although i have only recieved treatment for the symptoms ie drugs.

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The answer

There are no hard and fast rules as to when surgery on prolapsed or herniated discs should be performed. It will be based on an individual assessment of your MRI scan, looking at how much the disc is pressing on the nerves that emerge from your spinal cord; on your general state of health, and how dangerous or otherwise major surgery would be; and how you have responded to other treatments. Your symptoms are almost certainly caused by pressure on the nerve root, which causes pain not just over the spine but along the whole course of the nerve which is being trapped. Medication will often help with pain, but physiotherapy should certainly have been tried before you are offered surgery. The two most common options for treatment are spinal fusion and removal of the protruding disc – so called discectomy. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommends that for lumbar disc protrusion, a laser treatment called percutaneous intradiscal laser ablation can be considered, although they do not yet think there is enough evidence for laser discectomy to be considered as a treatment option.

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