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The thoracic outlet is the space between the collarbone and the first rib, and if any of the vessels or nerves in that area are damaged (known as thoracic outlet syndrome), patients can experience pain or numbness. Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) occurs when blood vessels in the lower neck/upper chest are compressed, causing pain, numbness and impaired circulation to areas that have restricted pathways. Thoracic outlet syndrome often is caused by physical trauma, joint pressure, posture, pregnancy or anatomical defects.
There are three distinct types of TOS, and the symptoms vary depending on the specific diagnosis and afflicted body part.
Our UChicago Medicine vascular surgery team offers a wide range of treatment options for patients suffering from thoracic outlet syndrome. Our specialists will explain the treatments available and will work with you to decide on the best option for your condition and lifestyle.
For some patients, undergoing physical therapy can release the compression on blood vessels. Additionally, medications, such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, thrombotics and pain medication may also be used to manage some patients condition and alleviate symptoms.
If medical treatment alone does not improve your symptoms, surgery may be the next step. Our vascular surgeons are highly skilled in treating thoracic outlet syndrome and will discuss any recommended procedure with you in detail so you can feel confident in your care.