When is surgery indicated in the treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome?

Updated: Jan 10, 2019
  • Author: Daryl A Rosenbaum, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Surgery in cases of thoracic outlet syndrome is indicated for acute vascular insufficiency and progressive neurologic dysfunction. Other patients should receive nonoperative treatment that, in the acute phase, includes relative rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), cervicoscapular strengthening exercises, and modalities such as ultrasound, transcutaneous nerve stimulation, and biofeedback. Physiotherapy in the acute phase focuses on pain control and range of motion with specific stretching exercises.

For patient education information, see Shoulder and Neck Pain and Electromyography (EMG).

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