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Doctor insights on: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

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

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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Dr. Bennett Machanic
314 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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Whats thoracic outlet syndrome?

Whats 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

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What causes recurrent thoracic outlet syndrome and is it common?

What causes recurrent thoracic outlet syndrome and is it common?

Extra rib or injury: It is caused by pressure on the nerves veins and possibly arteries of the arm where the first rib and clavicle meet ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: Thoracic outlet syndrome?

What is the definition or description of: Thoracic outlet syndrome?

Compression: A condition were 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 ...Read more

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Why is the long term prognosis for neurogenic thoracic syndrome bad?

Why is the long term prognosis for neurogenic thoracic syndrome bad?

Should NOT be.: Surgical techniques have dramatically improved, major medical centers like Johns Hopkins, UCLA, Harvard, and Washington University are doing procedures. If preliminary EMG and scalene blocks are appropriate, surgical success rates are in the 90's. Yet, you need to work with experts, as limited experience in this area will result often in dismal outcomes. ...Read more