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.

Related Questions

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...
Different treatments. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a narrowng between the first rib and a muscle called the anterior scalene muscle. It can cause compression of the artery, vein or nerve. Nerve compression is very common and can cause pain and weakness in the hands. Initial treatment is physical therapy., and ruling ot carpal tunnel syndrome. If that fails, then surgery to remove the first rib can be very effective. Read more...
TOS. Although tos is frequently described to involve the anterior scalene, the most common problem is an anterior attachment of the middle scalene to the first rib resulting in compression of the lower trunk of the brachial plexus. Chronic compression of the lower trunk can result in permanent numbness in the 4th and 5th digits and hand weakness. Read more...

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

Probably not. Although it can cause significant disability (extremity numbness, weakness, etc.) if not attended to. Physical therapy helps in many people and sometimes removing the first rib and removing scar tissue can significantly improve more severely affected patients. Read more...
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...
Usually not. But, if you are compressing a vein or artery and there is a resultant embolism to brain circulation, significant risk of stroke and potential brain hemorrhage changes the situation and this could be life threatening. Read more...

Is thoracic outlet syndrome and pinched nerves the same?

Yes and No. Thoracic outlet syndrome involves "pinching" of nerves at a specific site (the thoracic outlet). Pinched nerves is not a specific diagnosis; a diagnosis depends on what nerves and where the "pinch" is. Read more...
No. Thoracic outlet syndrome is related to compression of the subclavian artery leading to the the extremity and limiting blood flow and causing pain and numbness. It is usually related to a cervical rib or other rib deformity. Evaluation often shows a lower BP on the affected side. Surgery to remove the offending rib is often quite helpful. Read more...
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...
NO. Pinched nerve can occur anywhere in the body. Thoracic outlet syndrome occurs at a specific anatomical location, i.e, at the medial cord of the brachial plexus. Read more...

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

Thoracic outlet. A wide variety of causes for tos. Consider evaluation by specialist with special interest in this. Etiology may be related to rib, vascular, or fascial sling impingement. Read more...
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...

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...
Yes. Many cases are associated with trauma, acute or more chronic. Cervical ribs may or may not be associated. There are associations with motor vehicle accidents and the effect of a shoulder strap. Although many experience tos at younger ages, such as 20's, 30's, 40's, the disorder can present at virtually any age. Read more...

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...

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...