The thoracic region of the spine is the area of the middle and upper back. This region joins the cervical spine and lumbar spine, and is built for stability. The thoracic spine is therefore important for keeping the body in an upright position as well as protecting the vital organs in the chest. Various surgical procedures are available to relieve pain caused by thoracic spine problems. These include the following:

    Thoracic discectomy surgery
    is a procedure that can be used to treat a thoracic herniated disc. The whole or part of the disc is removed to create space and alleviate the pressure of the herniated disc on the nerve roots. This procedure should be considered if non-surgical options such as rest, medication, a back brace or physical therapy have not worked.

    Thoracic decompression surgery
    is a surgical procedure that involves removing the bone covering the spinal cord in order to create greater space. This is done if the canal has previously become narrow due to spinal stenosis. Again, non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy and medications are recommended before spinal surgery should be considered.

    Thoracic laminectomy for tumour excision
    is a treatment option for patients presenting with spinal tumours. The aim of the surgery is to remove the entire growth from the spinal region. This can be done as a posterior surgery whereby your surgeon will approach the procedure from the back. A general anaesthetic will be administered and your vital signs will be monitored throughout the procedure. Muscles may have to be cut to be moved out of the way. The location of the tumour will dictate what method your surgeon chooses to remove the mass. Your surgeon will try to remove as much of the tumour as possible, but this depends on the type and size of the growth. Your surgeon will then close the surgical wound.


I am a qualified neurosurgeon following my pre- and postgraduate studies at the University of Stellenbosch and currently have private practices at Netcare N1 City, which caters for the northern suburbs of Cape Town and Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital, which caters for the west coast of Cape Town and Western Cape.


Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital
Tel: +27 (0)21 554 0779 / Fax: +27 (0)21 554 2144

Netcare N1 City Hospital
Tel: 021 595 4633 / Fax: 086 684 8004