Giant Herniated Thoracic Disc: High-Risk Surgical Case
Disc protrusion or herniation is common in the lumbar spine. Herniations in the thoracic spine aren’t as common. In this study, doctors report the result of surgery to treat 140 cases of herniated thoracic discs.

A subgroup of 20 patients with giant herniated thoracic discs (HTDs) was compared to patients with smaller herniations. A HTD is defined as having a disc that takes up more than 40 percent of the space in the spinal canal.

In this report the doctors describe the location and size of the disc lesion for both groups (with and without giant HTD). They also describe the patients' symptoms. Choice of surgery depends on these factors.

In the case of giant HTDs, a wide incision is needed to move or remove the disc away from the spinal cord. Care must be taken to avoid pulling on the nerves or the lining around the spinal cord.

The authors report neural changes before and after surgery. They use two cases to help the reader understand some typical patient histories, exams, and results.
Jonathan S. Hott, M.D., et al. Surgical Management of Giant Herniated Thoracic Discs: Analysis of 20 Cases. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. September 2005. Vol. 3. Number 3. Pp. 191-197.