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A 21-year-old member asked:

Do doctors, during surgery really remove a rib to treat thoracic outlet syndrome?

2 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Cooke
Thoracic Surgery 23 years experience
Yes: Thoracic out let syndrome is caused by narrowing of the space in the chest that contains the nerves (brachial plexus) and arteries (axillary artery and veins). Sometimes an extra rib, called the cervical rib narrows the space. Usually it is the 1st rib and the anterior scalene muscle. Surgery to remove the 1st rib and the ant scalene muscle can help with symptoms.
Dr. Richard Sanders
General Surgery 68 years experience
Yes, sometimes: Usually the rib is not the problem. The problem is scarring and tightness in the muscles attached to the rib. This can be treated by removing the muscles thru a neck incision and leaving the rib or removing it, depending on the findings at surgery. Some doctors remove the rib through the arm pit in order to release the muscles attached to it. Through the arm pit, the rib must be removed.

Similar questions

A 21-year-old member asked:

How risky is surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Cooke
Thoracic Surgery 23 years experience
Somewhat: Risks include: injury to arteries and veins injury to the nerve failure to accomplish goals of therapy pain.
Last updated Oct 24, 2017

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