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Ann Vasc Surg. 1996 Sep;10(5):456-63.

770 consecutive supraclavicular first rib resections for thoracic outlet syndrome.

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Department of General Surgery, Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, Tex, USA.


During a 28-year period, 637 patients underwent 770 supraclavicular first rib resections and scalenectomies for thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). The neurologic type of TOS was found in 705 cases (92%) and the remaining 65 cases (8%) had the vascular form of TOS. Of those extremities with brachial plexus irritation, the symptom complex consisted of paresthesia in 30 (4%), pain in 221 (31%), and pain with paresthesia in 454 (64%). In the cases of vascular TOS, 47 limbs (6%) had venous complications and 18 limbs (2%) had arterial sequelae. Following supraclavicular scalenectomy and rib resection, an excellent response was achieved in 59% (455 cases) and a good result was achieved in another 27% (206 cases). A fair outcome was present in 13% (95 cases) and a poor result was found in only 1% (13 cases). There was a single occurrence of lymphatic leakage and no brachial plexus injuries resulted. Postoperative causalgia requiring subsequent sympathectomy developed in two cases. No vascular or permanent phrenic nerve injuries occured and only 12 patients (2%) required operative intervention for recurrent TOS. First rib resection and scalenectomy can be performed by the supraclavicular route with an acceptable outcome, minimal morbidity, and long-lasting results.

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