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Thoracic Disc Injuries Follow-up

  • Author: Kambiz Hannani, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
Updated: Apr 30, 2014

Return to Play

Thoracic disc disease is usually self-limiting; return to play depends on the success of conservative management in controlling the pain/radiculopathy that is associated with the disc herniation.



The most serious but rare complication of thoracic disc disease is myelopathy. Myelopathic features, including hyperreflexia, weakness, and bowel/bladder dysfunction, may not improve after surgical decompression. Worsening myelopathic findings are an absolute indication for surgical decompression.



Exercises, including cardiovascular training and abdominal/lumbar muscle training, are the primary preventive measure for thoracic disc disease.



Thoracic disc disease is essentially self-limiting and rarely requires surgical intervention. Most cases resolve within the first 4-6 weeks following onset.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Kambiz Hannani, MD Medical Director, Spine Specialty Institute

Kambiz Hannani, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Henry T Goitz, MD Academic Chair and Associate Director, Detroit Medical Center Sports Medicine Institute; Director, Education, Research, and Injury Prevention Center; Co-Director, Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Fellowship

Henry T Goitz, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Sherwin SW Ho, MD Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, Section of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences, The Pritzker School of Medicine

Sherwin SW Ho, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Arthroscopy Association of North America, Herodicus Society, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Disclosure: Received consulting fee from Biomet, Inc. for speaking and teaching; Received grant/research funds from Smith and Nephew for fellowship funding; Received grant/research funds from DJ Ortho for course funding; Received grant/research funds from Athletico Physical Therapy for course, research funding; Received royalty from Biomet, Inc. for consulting.

Additional Contributors

Craig C Young, MD Professor, Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Community and Family Medicine, Medical Director of Sports Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin

Craig C Young, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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