The thoracic outlet is a bony ring formed by the topmost ribs, just below the collarbone. Threading through the thoracic outlet, from inside the ribcage, is a bundle of nerves, veins and arteries that serve the shoulder and arm. Thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when those nerves or blood vessels become compressed, leading to pain, numbness and circulation issues.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: What You Need to Know
Thoracic outlet syndrome may affect nerves, blood vessels or both. It can be caused by repetitive motion, weight lifting or injury, or by internal factors such as a tumor or weight gain.
If blood vessels are affected, thoracic outlet syndrome usually requires surgery.
The condition is rare and very difficult to diagnose. If you suspect you have thoracic outlet syndrome, you should be evaluated by an expert.