Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
- Thoracic outlet syndrome facts
- What is thoracic outlet syndrome?
- What causes thoracic outlet syndrome?
- What are thoracic outlet syndrome risk factors?
- What are thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms and signs?
- What tests do physicians use to diagnose thoracic outlet syndrome?
- What is the treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome? What are medications for thoracic outlet syndrome? Is surgery necessary for TOS?
- What is the prognosis for thoracic outlet syndrome?
- Is it possible to prevent thoracic outlet syndrome?
- Patient Comments: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome - Treatment
Thoracic outlet syndrome facts
- Thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition whereby symptoms are produced from compression of nerves or blood vessels, or both, because of an inadequate passageway through an area (thoracic outlet) between the base of the neck and the armpit.
- Thoracic outlet syndrome symptoms include
- neck pain,
- shoulder pain,
- arm pain,
- numbness and tingling of the fingers,
- impaired circulation to the extremities (causing discoloration).
- Diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome is suggested by the symptoms and physical findings and is sometimes supported by electrical and/or radiology tests.
- Treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome usually involves physical-therapy exercises and avoiding certain prolonged positions of the shoulder.
What is thoracic outlet syndrome?
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a condition whereby symptoms are produced (such as numbness in fingers, pain in shoulder, arm, and neck) by compression of nerves and/or blood vessels in the upper chest. The passageway for these nerves and blood vessels to exit the chest and supply the upper extremities is referred to as the thoracic outlet. Muscle, bone, and other tissues border the thoracic outlet. Any condition that results in enlargement or movement of these tissues of or near the thoracic outlet can cause the thoracic outlet syndrome. These conditions include muscle enlargement (such as from weight lifting), injuries, an extra rib extending from the neck (cervical rib), weight gain, and rare tumors at the top of the lung. Often no specific cause is detectable.
It is felt by some scientists that the evolution of the torso of primates from a four-legged to a two-legged position may predispose humans to the development of thoracic outlet syndrome. The resulting vertical posture produced flattening of the chest cage and a shift of the shoulder joint backward, both of which narrowed the thoracic outlet.
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