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Thoracic Disc Herniation

The thoracic spine consists of the 12 vertebrae between your neck and lower back. The ends of your ribs, although not attached to the spine, rest in indentations in the thoracic vertebrae that help support the ribs. This arrangement also makes the thoracic vertebrae more stable than other vertebrae. Disc herniation in the thoracic spine is relatively rare compared to the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back and the cervical vertebrae in the neck. Thoracic disc herniations account for less than 1 percent of all protruded discs.

Our Approach to Thoracic Disc Herniation

UCSF is home to one of the largest centers in the country dedicated to evaluating and treating spinal disorders, such as thoracic disc herniation. Patients have access to the most up-to-date diagnostic imaging techniques as well as innovative treatments that are not widely available. Our team includes world-renowned specialists in neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, neurology, pain management, physical therapy, psychiatry, radiology and rheumatology. These experts work together to personalize a plan for each patient.

Thoracic disc herniation is treated with bed rest and pain medications. If the condition doesn't improve, or if the protruding disc is impinging on the spinal cord, we may recommend surgery. Our team's expertise in state-of-the-art surgical repair and rehabilitation results in less time under anesthesia, faster recovery and, ultimately, a better quality of life.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-orthopedics

    One of the nation's best for orthopedic care

  • usnews-neurology

    Best in California and No. 2 in the nation for neurology & neurosurgery

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.