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J Natl Med Assoc. 2003 Apr;95(4):298-306.

Scheuermann's disease as a model displaying the mechanism of venous obstruction in thoracic outlet syndrome and migraine patients: MRI and MRA.

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Department of Radiology, University of California at Los Angeles, CA 90095-0001, USA..


Kyphosis of the thoracic spine rotates the scapulae anterior laterally, clavicles and subclavius muscles anteriorly, displaces the manubrium posteriorly, which increases the slope of the first ribs. This increases tension on the anterior scalene muscles and the neurovascular bundles which causes brachial plexopathy (TOS). Scheuermann's disease (spinal osteochondrosis; juvenile kyphoscoliosis) is a disorder which consists of vertebral wedging endplate irregularity and narrowing of the intervertebral disk space causing kyphosis of the thoracic spine and may also involve the lumbar space. It occurs at puberty and involves both male and females. Abduction external rotation of the upper extremities (arms overhead) posterior inferiorly rotate the clavicles and the subclavius muscles which enhances tension on the venous drainage and neurovascular supply that diminishes venous return. This triggers complaints of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) and migraine headache. Bilateral magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrates compressing abnormalities of the brachial plexus. Five patients with Scheuermann's disease were imaged with the 1.5 Tesla magnet (Signa; General Electric Medical Systems, Milwaukee, WI) 3-D reconstruction MRI. T1W and T2W pulse sequences were performed in transverse, the coronal, transverse oblique, sagittal, and coronal abduction external rotation planes using 4 mm slice thickness and 512 x 256 matrix size. Water bags were used to enhance the signal to noise ratio. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) 2-D Time Of Flight (TOF) was obtained to compression for anatomic display evaluate perfusion of the brachial plexus. MRI and MRA captured sites of brachial plexus. One patient was selected for this presentation, which demonstrates the compression of the brachial plexus and venous obstruction which triggered complaints of thoracic outlet syndrome.

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