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Doctor insights on: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

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Dr. Bennett Machanic
315 Doctors shared insights

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (Overview)

A condition where the first rib or an extra rib causes compression between the clavicle and the rib of any one of the following three subclavian artery, subclavian vein, or brachioplexus.


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What is the most common cause of thoracic outlet syndrome?

What is the most common cause of thoracic outlet syndrome?

Narrow space: The most common cause is a narrow space between the first rib and a muscle tendon from the anterior scalene muscle. Other causes included an aberrent cervical rib. ...Read more

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Dr. Bennett Machanic
315 Doctors shared insights

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (Overview)

A condition where the first rib or an extra rib causes compression between the clavicle and the rib of any one of the following three subclavian artery, subclavian vein, or brachioplexus.


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What are the symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome?

Pain, numbness: Thoracic outlet syndrome can affect the vein, artery or nerves of the arms. Symptoms can include swelling of the arms, (vein compression) pain or numbness when using the arms overhead, or pain that can extend from the neck or shoulder down to the hands or fingers. Most symptoms are aggravated by doing things that narrow the space where vein, atery and nerve travelling to the arm are. ...Read more

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My hand has a bluish hue, is this a sign of thoracic outlet syndrome?

? Raynauds: Blue hands do sound more vascular. If pain is associated, please get this evaluated immediately. If it is intermittent and associated with cold temperatures, stress or tobacco and caffiene use it may be raynauds syndrome. This should be discussed with your primary care provider as it may be secondary to an underlying condition - in severe cases, you can lose fingers. ...Read more

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I'm looking for a doctor near los angeles who specializes in thoracic outlet syndrome. I don't have a diagnosis yet. How can I get a referral?

Ask your family doc!: I guess I'm confused. Why look for a doctor to treat thoracic outlet syndrome if you don't have a diagnosis? Wouldn't it be better to get a diagnosis first? Regardless, your family physician (who can assist you in reaching a diagnosis) can also refer you to someone who can treat you appropriately. Are you prepared to pay out of pocket? If not, limit yourself to those who accept your insurance. ...Read more

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I was in a car accident, I was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. What can I do next?

Manual Medicine: Aside from anti-inflammatories; and rest you should find a good osteopath as he/she can treat this easily. Otherwise you may need some physical therapy and possibly further evaluation...Check in with your doctor about this. ...Read more

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If I do the "hands up" test for thoracic outlet syndrome and my opposite hand turns white and pulses and tingles. What does that mean?

If I do the "hands up" test for thoracic outlet syndrome and my opposite hand turns white and pulses and tingles. What does that mean?

May have TOS: On the surface, you describe potential compression of blood vessels and nerves over the lower brachial plexus. This could be consistent with thoracic outlet, but could merely represent a transient compression due to a relatively small area over your shoulder/chest region. If you are concerned have your doctor assess this. ...Read more

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What are tests for thoracic outlet syndrome?

No specific test: Unfortunately, there is no specific "thoracic outlet syndrome test". There are a number of things that may lead your physician to consider this diagnosis, but quite frankly the diagnosis is often overlooked. Symptoms are pain above your collarbone or in the affected arm, but the process can also affect the vein and artery to the arm. Studies of the arteries and veins can confirm the diagnosis. ...Read more

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I have thoracic outlet syndrome (tos) arm/neck pain not from the spine. What should I do?

I have thoracic outlet syndrome (tos) arm/neck pain not from the spine. What should I do?

Evaluation: You should be seen by someone with an interest in treating thoracic outlet syndrome. This can be a surgeon, neurologist, orthopedic surgeon, etc. Physical therapy is almost always the first line of therapy. ...Read more

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What does this mean: cervical rib and thoracic outlet syndrome?

What does this mean: cervical rib and thoracic outlet syndrome?

Nerves are pinched: Thoracic outlet is the result of the big nerves and blood vessels in the neck and chest being pinched by the muscles and bones at the top of the rib cage as they exit towards the arms. A cervical rib is just one cause of this problem. It can be treated with physical therapy or surgery. ...Read more

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Anyone out there ever treat thoracic outlet syndrome?

Yes: There are three major types. The most common is related to pain and nerve compression. This one responds to physical therapy sometimes. The other two types may involve the artery or vein. These are less common. The treatment can be a bit controversial, espescially the nerve compression type. See a surgeon experienced in thoracic outlet disease such as a vascular or cardiothoracic surgeon. ...Read more

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How successful is surgery in the treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome?

How successful is surgery in the treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome?

Quite successful: Surgery to remove the first rib (or an extra rib, if there), and break up any fibrous bands of tissue is successful in relieving symptoms in up to 80% of patients. Additional treatment to widen blood vessels (angioplasty) or even bypass compressed blood vessels is sometimes necessary. Even with surgery, symptoms may recur in a small percentage of patients. ...Read more

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Can thoracic outlet syndrome be cured?

Quite often: Several centers of expertise thruout the usa now exist with surgeons possessing great experience. Success rates are approaching 80-85 % in carefully selected cases, whose preoperative testing is definitive. Excellent outcomes can be found at ucla, johns hopkins, washington univ. In st louis, and psl in denver, co. ...Read more

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