Thoracic outlet syndrome

General or Other | Neurology | Thoracic outlet syndrome (Disease)


The thoracic outlet syndrome is a complex symptom characterized by pain, paresthesia, weakness, upper limb discomfort which is aggravated by lifting arms or exaggerated movements of the head and neck.

Causes and Risk factors

In general, the cause of thoracic outlet syndrome is compression of the nerves and blood vessels in the thoracic outlet, just under your collarbone (clavicle). Thoracic outlet syndrome left untreated can cause permanent nerve damage; however, surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome is considered risky. This is because the procedure involves dividing a muscle in the neck and removing a portion of the first rib or repairing the brachial plexus nerves. For this reason, most doctors initially recommend a conservative treatment approach

Diagnosis and Treatment

The treatment uses drugs that suppress neuropathic pain. The brachial plexus block is sometimes used. Surgery is sometimes done in patients for whom drugs and the technique of brachial plexus block do not work. However the prognosis of surgical treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome is not very good overall. The surgery is attempted when there are bone problems causing serious disorders or venous thrombosis. ...