Thoracic outlet syndrome care at Mayo Clinic

Your Mayo Clinic care team

All about thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS): Recovery and long-term outlook

All about thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS): Recovery and long-term outlook


Can thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) come back after surgery?

Sam Farres, M.D., Chair, Division of Vascular Surgery Mayo Clinic in Florida: Typically, this can be due to not addressing the underlying causes adequately or providing the wrong surgery or treatment option. It typically comes back more frequently in more conservative management versus surgery. Sometimes after surgery, scar tissue or improper healing can also contribute to some of the symptoms coming back. And noncompliance with recovery and rehabilitation also contribute to some of the symptoms coming back. Therefore it's crucial to have the proper diagnosis and adhere to the post operative plan.


What is recovery like for thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)?

Dr. Farres: So recovery varies based on the treatment that was used for the thoracic outlet syndrome. If the treatment is less invasive with injections or medications, usually people recover within weeks to months. If the treatment is more surgical based, we usually ask the patient not to have any heavy lifting for four weeks and ask them to do light activities after surgery up to two weeks.


What are the long-term side effects of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) treatment?

Dr. Farres: Possible side effect of treatment can vary based on the treatment employed and the underlying cause or applying the wrong treatment or less effective treatment for an individual. Also, complications related to nerve injuries and scar formation, vascular complications in case of vascular TOS, improper rehabilitation due to noncompliance and not sticking to the multidisciplinary approach plan.


What resources and supportive services are available for thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)?

Dr. Farres: Some of the available resources are Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Society, online communities, educational websites such as Mayo Clinic's website. Local therapist – physical therapist – who has experience with TOS can be also a valuable resource. Rehabilitation centers who are qualified to address chronic pain management also can be a part of the available resources. We offer at Mayo Clinic, Florida, second opinion for comprehensive overlook when specialists ask us to provide our opinion in complicated cases.


Doctors trained in blood vessel surgery (vascular and endovascular surgery), blood vessel conditions (vascular medicine), chest surgery (thoracic surgery), brain and nervous system conditions (neurology), pain medicine (anesthesia), imaging (radiology), orthopedic surgery, and physical medicine and rehabilitation work together to diagnose and treat thoracic outlet syndrome.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

Thoracic outlet syndrome can be challenging to diagnose because its symptoms overlap with those of many other conditions. Specialists at Mayo Clinic have access to the latest imaging techniques and ongoing research, which allows them to provide a quick and accurate diagnosis.

Thoracic outlet syndrome treatment may include medicines, physical therapy or surgery. Mayo Clinic's experienced vascular surgeons are trained to provide a number of different surgical treatment options, depending on the cause of your thoracic outlet syndrome.

Expertise and rankings

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic's healthcare professionals provide comprehensive care for more than 1,200 people with thoracic outlet syndrome every year.
  • Surgical expertise. Mayo Clinic experts offer several treatment options for thoracic outlet syndrome, including physical therapy, medicines and surgery. Surgery is performed by a highly trained and experienced vascular medicine surgeon. Whenever possible, Mayo Clinic surgeons use new, minimally invasive procedures.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is ranked among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery, for orthopedics, and for rehabilitation by U.S. News & World Report.

Learn more about Mayo Clinic's neurology and orthopedic surgery departments' expertise and rankings.

Locations, travel and lodging

Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

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Costs and insurance

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

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June 04, 2024