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Doctor insights on: Can Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Kill You By Damaging Important Nerves And Arteries

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Can thoracic outlet syndrome kill you by damaging important nerves and arteries?

Can thoracic outlet syndrome kill you by damaging important nerves and arteries?

Not definitely: Thoracic outlet syndrome can have a profound affect on quality of life, by impinging on either the artery, vein or nerve near the first rib. Removal of the first rib, either via the arm pit (axilla) or neck can alleviate those symptoms. ...Read more

Dr. Brad Goldenberg
1 Doctor shared a insight

Artery (Definition)

Arteries are defined as blood vessels which carry blood away from the heart (to either the body or lungs). Arteries: higher pressure, thicker walls, stretch (pulse) with each heart contraction & deliver blood to the arterioles which control the flow to individual capillaries. Veins are blood vessels which carry blood from capillaries back to the heart (body to right heart; ...Read more


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With thoracic outlet syndrome what is the chance of vein artery compression if arms are same color temp and not swollen? How large is risk of clots?

With thoracic outlet syndrome what is the chance of vein artery compression if arms are same color temp and not swollen? How large is risk of clots?

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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I have arterial or venous thoracic outlet syndrome and have been lifting weights again. Is this safe? My hands are a little numb after.

I have arterial or venous thoracic outlet syndrome and have been lifting weights again. Is this safe? My hands are a little numb after.

Thoracic outlet: Syndrome is compression of nerves or blood vessels, or combination of both. The most common factors is muscle enlargement due to the weight lifting. I think you should not do any active upper body exercises.
Rec.: see your physician for evaluation, patient education and proper referral for treatment. ...Read more

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Is thoracic outlet syndrome and pinched nerves the same?

Is thoracic outlet syndrome and pinched nerves the same?

Related: The thoracic outlet contains both a collection of nerves like the brachial plexus and blood vessels serving the arms. Any compromise of the to can cause symptoms affecting both the nerves and circulation by compression of either or both causing similar sensations of cold, numbness and tingling. Simple exercises such as wall push-ups can sometimes yield some relief. See a physical therapist or dr. ...Read more

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Having thoracic outlet syndrome issues because of first rib cartilage/ligament tear. Rib moves and irritates nerves. What can I do?

Having thoracic outlet syndrome issues because of first rib cartilage/ligament tear. Rib moves and irritates nerves. What can I do?

Testing: You should schedule an appointment with a neurologist. He or she can do a thorough exam and an emg. Do nut rush for a surgical treatment until these are done. ...Read more

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If untreated, how much bodily nerve damage can thoracic outlet syndrome cause?

Significant: Thoracic outlet syndrome can be frustrating as the nerve compression can lead to weakness and/or muscle wasting into the arm/upper extremity. Fortunately, it can be treated with some simple manual medicine techniques (i know because I had the unfortunate circumstance to suffer from it)...So if you can find a reputable osteopath he/she can help you recover. ...Read more

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Can Thoracic Outlet Syndrome affect breathing or the Phrenic Nerve?

Can Thoracic Outlet Syndrome affect breathing or the Phrenic Nerve?

TOS: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome involves the nerves traveling through the shoulder at the level of the 1st rib. The phrenic nerve does not typically travel through the outlet and is usually on the anterior scalene muscle that forms the anterior border of the outlet. Occasionally an accessory phrenic nerve may be dominant and travel through the outlet but I have not seen any cases with breathing problems. ...Read more

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Can thoracic outlet syndrome be treated if the nerve compression has been for 8 month, or surgery is necessary? And how much time does physicalT take

Can thoracic outlet syndrome be treated if the nerve compression has been for 8 month, or surgery is necessary? And how much time does physicalT take

Yes: 20y seeks non-operative therapy of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Neurovascular bundle impingement occurs in costo-clavicular dimension, the true Thoracic Outlet. Impingement is due to irregular clavicle motion w. abduction; caused by abnormal superior trapezius, ST, function; via ST overdeveloped or underdeveloped relative to muscles of inferior scapular draw, i.e., "crossed muscles". See a wise P.T. ...Read more

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Is there a chance that surgery won't help neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome? If so how often does this happen?

Is there a chance that surgery won't help neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome? If so how often does this happen?

Yes: Unfortunately, it is possible that it will not help but that goes for any surgery. The question is best answered by the surgeon himself. ...Read more

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First rib resection for thoracic outlet syndrome 6 months ago still haven't gotten relief pain just as bad. Should I be concerned?

Yes: This is a difficult situation diagnosis to deal with. There can be other reasons for the pain and I think you should see your surgeon again, and possibly a pain specialist. ...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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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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Where can I find a thoracic outlet syndrome specialist?

Where can I find a thoracic outlet syndrome specialist?

Check publications: Not a lot of people do thoracic outlet procedures well, or often. Those who do usually publish. Since most thoracic outlet issues are now treated with physical therapy, surgery has been relegated to a late option. There used to be several lectures at the surgical conferences about thoracic outlet therapy. Now it is unusual to find even one. ...Read more

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Can surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome make you worse?

Can surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome make you worse?

Tos: You should ask benefits vs risks to the surgeon. This is not a minor surgery and yes I have seen failed surgery with increased problems. U should be absolutely sure what u are undergoing this surgery fot ...Read more

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Can thoracic outlet syndrome & diabetes lead to problems?

Can thoracic outlet syndrome & diabetes lead to problems?

Neuropathy: The combination is not unusual, as diabetes often causes peripheral nerve problems, and leads to susceptibility to tos, if an injury were to occur. The diabetic individual may possess delayed healing, and thereby, the problem may eventuate in a surgical approach. ...Read more

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Can surgery actually make thoracic outlet syndrome worse?

Can surgery actually make thoracic outlet syndrome worse?

Yes: THis is usually true when it involves nerve compression rather than compression of blood vessels. Nerves can be damaged during surgery or scarring can compress nerves. This can happen in a small but real minority of persons. ...Read more

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Is a second operation for thoracic outlet syndrome common?

Is a second operation for thoracic outlet syndrome common?

No: It is not and should only be considered by a surgeon VERY experienced in the surgical treatment of TOS. If you tryly need reoperative surgery, you should travel to a center and surgeon with appropriate expertise. ...Read more

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Why is getting surgery a last resort for thoracic outlet syndrome?

Big Operation: Surgical treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome is a major operation that involves resecting the first rib and potentially major vascular repair. Results are usually good if there is vascular compromise and variable if impairment is neurologic. If the condition can be controlled with non-surgical measures, avoiding surgery is preferable. Thanks for trusting HealthTap! ...Read more

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What exercises should you do after surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome?

What exercises should you do after surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome?

Strengthen shoulder: Exercise generally targeted at strengthening the shoulder girdle, improving posture and improving range of motion.
Also depends on whether the surgery was for vascular or neurogenic complaints. The recovery after surgery for vascular compression is much quicker than when the problem was neurologic symptoms ...Read more

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How can I rehab after thoracic outlet syndrome surgery?

How can I rehab after thoracic outlet syndrome surgery?

Physical therapy: Slowly increasing your movements, your range of motion, and slowly increase your strength training. ...Read more

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Is the recovery from the neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome surgery hard?

Is the recovery from the neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome surgery hard?

Sometimes: You should definitely do some physical therapy. Sometimes the nerve discomfort may take some time to resolve. In rare cases it may persist. ...Read more

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What percent of first rib resections are unsuccessful for thoracic outlet syndrome?

What percent of first rib resections are unsuccessful for thoracic outlet syndrome?

85%-90% success: These results suggest that surgical decompression can alleviate pain and quality of life in patients with a wide range of abnormalities at the thoracic outlet. ...Read more

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Is there a reoperation for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome?

Is there a reoperation for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome?

Yes.: There are specialists who perform 1st rib resections. It will help quite a bit and alleviate most if not all of your symptoms. ...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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What kind of doctor should you see for thoracic outlet syndrome?

Physiatrist: A vascular surgeon can find & operate. The operation is notoriously ineffective in many, but not all. A physiatrist can also diagnose. Unfortuntely, many neurologists disbelieve tos because their studies cannot detect. An experienced physical therapist is best clinician to lead way to improvement & without surgery. See my discussion on chronic pain board at quora. Com. ...Read more

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What is the link between a? Cervical rib and thoracic outlet syndrome?

What is the link between a? Cervical rib and thoracic outlet syndrome?

Varies: Many people remain asymptomatic with a cervical rib. The most severe complication is thoracic outlet syndrome caused by compression of the brachial plexus (weakness in affected arm) and/or subclavian artery (decreased pulses in affected arm). ...Read more

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Can thoracic outlet syndrome cause severe chronic pain at the t6 region.?

Can thoracic outlet syndrome cause severe chronic pain at the t6 region.?

Unlikely: Thoracic outlet affects lateral neck, shoulder blade, lateral upper chest, and radiates down the arm typically to digits 4 and 5 of the hand, if the neurogenic variety. A more distal variation seems focalized to the lateral chest and armpit, (pectoralis minor). T-6 is too low for tos. Severe pain there is more likely of discogenic origin, if within the spine, or referred pain from internal organs. ...Read more

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Are vascular conditions a common complication of thoracic outlet syndrome?

Are vascular conditions a common complication of thoracic outlet syndrome?

Yes: The thoracic outlet is notable for the presence of arteries, veins, and nerves. This outlet may be compressed to various degrees by various means (position, abnormal anatomy, tumor), impairing arterial blood supply to, or veinous drainage of, the arm. Also, there may be supply/drain complications to the brain. Symptoms include pain, swelling, numbness of the arm, and potentially lightheadedness. ...Read more

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Diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome but I only have issues with right arm?

Not uncommon: It is not uncommon for those who suffer from thoracic outlet syndrome to only be affected on one side and not the other. I hope this helps. ...Read more

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Are pain pills successful in relieving pain caused by thoracic outlet syndrome?

Thoracic Outlet: Pain pills are at time successful in temporarily relieving pain but they do nothing to cure the cause of the pain of thoracic outlet syndrome. It is necessary for you to get medical help. See your doctor for an examination and careful diagnosis. A proper course of treatment can help you relieve the cause of the pain. ...Read more

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Can poor circulation associated with thoracic outlet syndrome cause complications?

Can poor circulation associated with thoracic outlet syndrome cause complications?

RISKS: If you have experienced artery or vein compression due to tos, and possess a cervical rib, there is risk of possible local blood clotting, and, on rare occasions, strokes have occurred. Since this can be very complex, and may be benign or more dangerous, best to have a very experienced thoracic outlet surgeon evaluate the blood vessels fully. ...Read more

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Can Thoracic Outlet Syndrome be mistaken for Early-Onset Generalized/Post-Traumatic Secondary Dystonia or visa versa?

Can Thoracic Outlet Syndrome be mistaken for Early-Onset Generalized/Post-Traumatic Secondary Dystonia or visa versa?

Can happen: Have seen multiple mis-diagnoses regarding TOS challenges, and seems to be tough to nail down in many locales. If EMG specifically studies brachial plexus, the diagnosis can be apparent. To sort this out, may need to see a vascular surgeon. ...Read more

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Hi I am 45 years old I have a serious medical problem called thoracic outlet syndrome I need help. What treatments are available?

Thoracic outlet: Physical therapy is able to help greater than 90% of people with this problem. For the rest, as a last resort, surgery including first rib resection is a possibility. ...Read more

Nerve (Definition)

The brain and spinal cord communicates with what is occurring in the internal organs and limbs by nerve fibers where are like electrical wires with insulation (myelin) and the "copper" (axon). Within brain and spinal cord these nerves connect to other nerves via synapses on both axons and dendrites. A nerve can carry information regarding sensations, and ...Read more


Dr. Bennett Machanic
315 Doctors shared insights

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (Definition)

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, ...Read more