Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome is an ‘umbrella’ term used to describe a group of conditions that occur as a result of compression or injury of the neurovascular structures (blood vessels and nerves) of the arm, hand and shoulder as they traverse from their origins in the lower neck to their entry into the arm at the level of the armpit. The compression can be caused by congenital, e.g. cervical rib, anomalous muscle insertions, or acquired changes in tissues e.g. repetitive injury through exercise, whiplash injury. Compression and/or injury of these neurovascular structures can cause a wide variety of symptoms in the upper limb including neck and shoulder pain; numbness, tingling and weakness of the arm and hand, Raynaud’s, and headaches. Treatment is aimed at relieving the compression and ranges from targeted physiotherapy to open surgical resection of anomalous muscles, fibrous bands or extra ribs.
Thoracic outlet syndrome is the most important and most difficult neurovascular compression to manage in the upper limb due to the complexity of the anatomy and the potential risks associated with surgery. At the Circulation Clinic, we are able to offer a comprehensive service to our clients suffering with thoracic outlet syndrome. Our surgeons and radiologists have genuine expertise in this challenging field that has been developed over many years of treating patients with thoracic outlet related disorders.