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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

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What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when nerves or blood vessels compress in the thoracic outlet—the passageway between the lower neck and upper chest.

  • Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome – compression of nerves on the brachial plexus, the nerves that go across your upper chest. This is the most common type.
  • Venous thoracic outlet syndrome - compression of the subclavian vein.
  • Arterial thoracic outlet syndrome - compression of the subclavian artery. This is the rarest type.

Symptoms affect the upper body (neck, upper chest, shoulder, arm or hand), and may include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Swelling or discoloration
  • Pain

Often, the cause is unclear. Sometimes, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can be caused by:

  • Vigorous and repetitive arm movements
  • Traumatic injuries
  • Anatomical variations

UR Medicine's Treatments for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Your UR Medicine provider will do a physical exam, including asking you to do simple movements. They may also order the following tests:

How is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Treated?

Treatment will vary depending on the type of TOS you have, and may include:

If you need surgery, UR Medicine Neurosurgery will work with you and your family to make sure you have a thorough understanding of your treatment.

What Sets Us Apart?

As the region’s only academic medical center, we have exceptionally high standards that help ensure the best results for our patients. Our experts use state-of-the-art technology and provide a wide range of treatments to help maximize your health.

UR Medicine Neurosurgery has world class technology, including the computer assisted image guidance, functional MRI, and awake brain mapping. We also provide the very latest neurosurgical treatments. Many of these treatments are not available at any other hospital in the region.

We offer true comprehensive care and proudly serve patients throughout the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Western New York. We strive to make specialized care convenient, by providing care at several regional locations

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