What is Thoracic Disc Herniation?

Thoracic disc herniation is a rare disease but it can lead to serious functional disorders. There are no symptoms unique to this disease. Patients suffering from thoracic disc herniation can present with only back pain or abdominal pain, urinary incontinence, urination disorders, weakness in legs arising from vertebral damages, numbness, loss of strength, as well.

How does Thoracic Disc Herniation develop?

Most of the patients with thoracic disc herniation state that their pain complaints have initiated after trying to lift a heavy load. Factors causing thoracic disc herniation are as follows:

  • Disc damages due to accidents or trauma, and
  • Loss of spinal disc functions due to aging.

Who presents with Thoracic Disc Herniation?

Both males and females equally experience thoracic disc herniation and frequently after 30. Surgical intervention is rarely required.

What are the symptoms of Thoracic Disc Herniation?

  • Compared to cervical herniated disc and slipped disc, thoracic disc herniation usually occurs in the middle region and calcification risk is higher.
  • Continuous or intermittent lancinating or stabbing pains on back,
  • Abdominal or pelvic pains,
  • Weakness in both legs,
  • Contractions,
  • Oliguria,
  • Urinary incontinence, and
  • Frequent urination.

One of the significant parameters herein is to evaluate patient by and large. If accompanying numbness in upper extremities is detected, the patient needs to be scanned from neck region, as well.

How to detect and treat thoracic disc herniation?

MRI and clinical examination reports are used to detect thoracic disc herniation as in other hernia detections. MRI is of great significance as inflammatory diseases which might be confused with thoracic disc herniation, cancerous metastases and congenital diseases can be easily differentiated. As discs are inclined to be calcified and for evaluating the bone structure better, tomography is required.

For treating thoracic disc herniation, back strengthening exercises together with medication might be applied in mild or moderate cases. In severe cases, based upon the severity and structural condition of disease, surgical intervention becomes necessary.

How to decide surgical intervention for thoracic disc herniation?


Surgical intervention is rarely required for treating thoracic disc herniation. Decision of surgical intervention must be made carefully. If the patient presents with critical neurological examination findings, and serious hernia or compression on spinal cord as a result of MRI analysis, surgical intervention is decided.

Full Endoscopic Disc Surgery for Thoracic Disc Herniation

Thoracic disc herniation increases the risk of calcification more than slipped disc and cervical herniated disc. Additionally, as blood circulation is of importance in back region, risk associated circulatory disorder might lead to serious malfunction in spinal cord and occurrence of symptoms. In well selected cases, without lessening the mobility of spine, full endoscopic disc surgery can be preferred as an effective surgical interventional option.

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