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.
EMG and Ultrasound. A few new approaches to diagnose tos are available now. Ultrasound imaging may demonstrate the narrowing than compresses nerves and blood vessels. New EMG techniques can show abnormal nerve function over the thoracic outlet. Angiographic imaging of blood vessels can display the local compressions.

Related Questions

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...

For thoracic outlet syndrome. What sites on the body should I ask my pa to request to do a X-ray, mri, ct? And which test would be best?

MRI. A cervical spine xray can identify bony abnormalities (e.g., cervical rib) that can cause thoracic outlet syndrome and may be a good start, but it is not enough. Most experienced radiology centers have specific MRI protocols to evaluate for tos. Your pa can call the radiologist and ask how to order the test (e.g., MRI brachial plexus, MRI chest). Read more...

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...
Compression. TOS is due to compression of the neurovascular structues of the thoracic outlet (subclavian vessels, brachial plexus) . The 1st rib, anterior and medial scalene muscles form a traingle through which the aforementioned structures exit the chest into the upper extremity. Compression occures for various reasons and the compression may be of the nerves or the blood vessels. Read more...

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...
Nerve and vascular. Nerves connecting the arm and the spinal cord pass into the chest through a tunnel termed the thoracic outlet. In close contact are blood vessels. The tunnel can become too narrow and compress the nerves and/or blood vessels, with attendant pain, numbness, weakness, tingling, change in arm color, and especial problems if the arm is elevated. Read more...
Shoulder Pain. Thoracic outlet syndrome (tos) manifests as chromic shoulder pain, frequent episodes of arm going "to sleep" at night while reclined, and tingling and crawling sensations radiating into the arm, often into the pinky side of the hand.  the traditional explanation is that nerves and arteries going from the neck spine and from the core (thorax) of the body are pinched by tight scalene muscles, which. Read more...

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...

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...
Impressions. First, make certain that you do indeed have neurogenic TOS (proven by EMG study of brachial plexus), or vascular TOS (proven on arteriographic surveys). Feldenkreis PT can reverse about 85% of cases, and experience surgeons have well over 93% positive outcomes. Nearest expertise to you at Johns Hopkins. Read more...