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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

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

Snippet of thoracic outlet syndrome infographic. Click to view.
  • 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.

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Transaxillary First Rib Resection for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

Learn more about the tranaxillary first rib resection surgical approach to treat TOS from the Johns Hopkins Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Clinic. Watch to find out what happens during and after this decompression surgery, which is a low risk and effective surgical treatment for patients diagnosed with neurogenic or venous TOS.

Nerve Block Treatment for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

Nerve Block is a non-surgical alternative for patients suffering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). This animation illustrates how physicians at the Johns Hopkins Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Clinic perform interscalene brachial plexus blocks using botulinum toxin type A injections to provide temporary pain relief for patients.

Why choose Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute for treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome?

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome vascular surgeons

Our Physicians

Patients visit Johns Hopkins from all over the world seeking expert treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome.

Meet our physicians:
Dr. Ying-Wei Lum discusses thoracic outlet syndrome

Our Treatments

Vascular surgeon Ying Wei Lum discusses causes, diagnosis and treatment.

Watch the video.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome clinic

Our Specialty Centers

At the Johns Hopkins Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Clinic, our physicians understand the different types of TOS and are expert in all forms of treatment.

Learn more about the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Clinic.