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Arch Surg. 2011 Dec;146(12):1383-7. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.2011.739.

Spectrum of thoracic outlet syndrome presentation in adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 720 Rutland Ave, Ross 759, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.



To study the outcomes of children with thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) treated surgically with transaxillary first-rib resection and scalenectomy (FRRS).


A retrospective database review.


The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.


Patients 18 years or younger who had undergone FRRS.


All patients underwent FRRS. Patients with venous TOS underwent venography 2 weeks postoperatively. Main Outcomes Measures For patients with venous TOS, good outcomes included patent subclavian veins. For patients with neurogenic and arterial TOS, good outcomes included relief of pain and discomfort.


Thirty-five adolescents, including 14 male and 21 female patients, presented with TOS. Of these, 18 had venous symptoms, 9 had neurogenic symptoms, and 8 had arterial symptoms. Seventeen of the 18 patients with venous TOS had thrombosis. At postoperative venography, 13 patients required dilation of a stenotic vein, 2 had patent veins, and 2 had chronically occluded veins. All 18 patients had patent veins, but 1 had persistent ipsilateral neurogenic symptoms. Physical therapy before FRRS had failed in all 9 patients with neurogenic TOS. Five of the 8 patients with arterial TOS presented with abnormal ribs. Two had episodes of embolization, and 1 had an occluded radial artery. None had an axillosubclavian aneurysm. All 8 patients underwent FRRS; 3 also required removal of the fused cervical rib. All 35 patients had a favorable follow-up period.


Adolescents present more frequently with venous and arterial TOS than do adults. However, in nearly all adolescent patients, treatment with FRRS leads to a rapid return to full activity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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