Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)

  • Medical Author:
    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.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    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.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

What types of doctors treat thoracic outlet syndrome?

Doctors who treat thoracic outlet syndrome include general physicians, such as general-medicine doctors, family medicine doctors, and internists, as well as rheumatologists, physical-medicine doctors, and chest surgeons.

What is the prognosis for thoracic outlet syndrome?

Most people with thoracic outlet syndrome can have complete resolution of symptoms with conservative measures, including exercises specific for thoracic outlet syndrome, physical therapy, and avoiding stressing the tissues of the thoracic outlet. It can be helpful to avoid sleeping with the arms extended above the head. Rarely, surgical intervention can be necessary to take pressure off of involved nerves and blood vessels. Complications include embolization to the hand and nerve damage to the extremity involved.

Is it possible to prevent thoracic outlet syndrome?

It's possible to prevent thoracic outlet syndrome by maintaining relaxed tissues of the upper chest. This can involve prevention exercises, stretches, and therapies designed to loosen the tissues around the shoulders and neck.

REFERENCES:

Koopman, William, et al., eds. Clinical Primer of Rheumatology. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003.

Ruddy, Shaun, et al., eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Co., 2000.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/10/2016

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