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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

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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Managing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Checklist)

Wear a wrist brace at night
daily
Take pain medications as directed
Once
Use proper posture when performing tasks
Once
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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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Living with Asperger's Syndrome (Checklist)

Learn about your condition
once
Practice stress management and mindfulness
2x day
Do not be afraid to ask for feedback
3x day
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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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Managing Restless Leg Syndrome (Checklist)

See a vein specialist
Once
Check your cholesterol medications
Once
Have a venous ultrasound to check for reflux
Once
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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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Living with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (Checklist)

Eliminate low-fat, high-carb foods from your diet
once
Monitor your weight and review your diet daily
daily
Blend exercises that make sense into your daily routine
daily
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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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15
Living with Down Syndrome (Checklist)

Enroll in an early intervention program
Once
Get help from local and national support groups
Once
Consider getting help from mental health professionals
Once
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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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Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Checklist)

Try to notice and avoid precipitating factors
Once
Start a trial of increased dietary fiber
Once
See your primary care physician or gastroenterologist if symptoms persist
Once
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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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Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFIDS) (Checklist)

Don't overdo it when you have more energy than usual
Once
Try slow and steady movement like qigong, tai chi, or yoga
Once
Consider natural medical alternatives such as dipsacus
Once
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I am a weight lifter, am I possibly at more risk for thoracic outlet syndrome?

I am a weight lifter, am I possibly at more risk for thoracic outlet syndrome?

Possibly!: Compression of nerves and blood vessels can be caused by an extra cervical rib (above the first rib) or an abnormal tight band of tissue connecting the spinal vertebra to the rib. Many patients have injured the area in the past or overused the shoulder. Increased muscle mass can increase the chances of thoracic outlet syndrome. On the other hand, appropriate physical therapy may help relieve it. ...Read more

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If I adopt better posture, can I prevent or relieve thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms?

Shoulder Posture yes: Thoracic outlet syndrome is helped by paying attention to your shoulder posture and how your arms hang. The advice I give to patients is to avoid letting your arms just hang down by gravity while sitting watching tv, or while driving extended periods. Rather, support your flexed elbows up on cushions, to relieve the pressure on the delicate nerves coming out through the shoulder. Also get pt! ...Read more

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What's thoracic outlet syndrome?

What's thoracic outlet syndrome?

TOS: Tos involves the lower portion of the brachial plexus, where nerves from the neck pass through a tunnel into the chest on the way to the arm. The plexus can get trapped in the outlet area, and this event can cause pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, but can also affect blood vessels. On occasion, a congenital first rib can cause compression but trauma may also promote tos. ...Read more

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What is thoracic outlet syndrome?

What is thoracic outlet syndrome?

Narrowing of space: Thoracic outlet syndrome is narrowng of the space between the first rib and the anterior scalene muscle. The axillary vein and artery and brachial plexus nerve passes through this space. Narowing the space can pinch the artery, vein, nerve or all of the above. Also, a rare, abnormal cervical rib can cause the same problems. ...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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Is thoracic outlet syndrome permanent?

Is thoracic outlet syndrome permanent?

Not necessarily.: Assuming that is correct diagnosis, this can commonly be helped with physical therapy. There may be necessity to consider surgical intervention for refractory symptoms, yet that surgery is commonly successful. This is a difficult diagnosis, to come to, so I would make sure you are comfortable with how you came to this diagnosis, and if not consider another opinion. ...Read more

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How common is thoracic outlet syndrome?

How common is thoracic outlet syndrome?

Not very common: Three manisfestations:

1. Pinching of the artery leading to the arm and hand (most common)
2. Pinching of the vein leading to the arm and hand, resulting in swelling (next common)
3. Pinching of the nerve resulting in various types of pain (not very common). ...Read more

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What is thoracic outlet syndrome release?

What is thoracic outlet syndrome release?

Surgery: Thoracic outlet surgery is done to remove pressure or compression of the nerve, artery, and vein going to the arm. This involves removing the first rib, and releasing any scar tissue present. This results in significant reduction in symptoms in most cases. ...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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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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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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Does thoracic outlet syndrome affect people at any age?

Yes: Often a congenital problem, so present from birth. May be missed, sometimes for years, depending on symptoms, so can present at any age. ...Read more

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Can Thoracic Outlet Syndrome ever become a serious issue?

Can Thoracic Outlet Syndrome ever become a serious issue?

TOS: There is neurogenic, arterial and venous types for TOS. Some that cause arterial or venous obstruction can cause arterial insurfficiency of the upper extremity or venous obstruction or DVT, which are obviously serious. Neurogenic type TOS can cause nerve injury to branches of the brachial plexus. Best to see a TOS surgeon and/or a neurologist who can evaluate you. Vascular TOS requires. .. ...Read more

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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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Symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome and how can you help?

Symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome and how can you help?

Depends: Thoracic outlet syndrome is compression of the nerve, artery, and vein at the thoracic outlet at the base of the neck. This can occur because of an extra rib, thickened muscles, or a previous collar bone fracture. The classic symptoms are neurologic, with the classic finding a decrease in arterial pressure with arm elevation. If there is no swelling or discoloration, venous obstruction is unlikely. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms of recurrent thoracic outlet syndrome?

What are the symptoms of recurrent thoracic outlet syndrome?

Radiating symptoms: Usually patient presents with numbness tingling and parathesias in the effected arm. Usually exacerbated when lifting arm above the head. Seek care for evaluation ...Read more

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Could thoracic outlet syndrome be covered under workmans comp?

You bet!: Many tos cases occur associated with on the job injuries. I have seen problems after motor vehicle accidents, lifting issues, repetitive overhead activities, and a variety of traumatic impacts. However, inclusion rules for worker's comp varies from state to state. Check locally with the state offices. ...Read more