You may have a thoracic disk herniation with a pinched nerve. You will need an MRI scan of your thoracic spine. Thoracic disk herniations are uncommon but they can be dangerous especially if they pinch and damage the spinal cord. Thoracic disk herniations can cause shooting pain around your rib cage and weakness, paralysis or bowel and bladder incontinence. They are usually treated surgically if there is neurological deficits. In the past open traditional surgery was the only option to treat thoracic disk herniations. This was a large operation with significant risk. Today there are new minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) options for thoracic disk disease including laser discectomy or endoscopic discectomy.
Endoscopic discectomy involves placement of needle into the herniated disk, followed by serial dilation of the soft tissue and placement of an endoscopic port. The endoscope is then placed through the port to the herniated disk. The disk is then removed with small cutting and grabbing instruments under direct visualization. After the disk is removed and the nerve is unpinched the endoscope and tube are removed allowing the soft tissues to fall back together. Single suture and dressing is used to close the incision. The patient is discharged home the same day.
Click Read More to learn about treatment options. Good Luck!