Thoracic Outlet Syndrome-Specialized TOS MRI diagnosis-NeoVista®2019-04-18T01:18:48+00:00

What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Doctors know thoracic outlet syndrome as TOS. Specifically, the thoracic outlet is the hollow space above your collarbone, between your shoulder and your neck. If you want to find your thoracic outlet, place your fingers on the side of your neck and slide down to the space above your collarbone.

The thoracic outlet has many anatomic variations that can cause narrowing of the thoracic outlet, often worse with arm motion. This narrowing compresses the vessels or nerves, causing blood clot, pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or muscle wasting. Clinical diagnosis of TOS is limited, but MRI can show anatomic abnormalities, compression, and blood clots.


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Formation or migration of a blood clot causes the sudden onset of pain, swelling, or weakness in patients with arterial TOS or venous TOS. As a result, doctors focus imaging tests to find these blood clots. Once confirmed, doctors use further imaging tests to administer clot-dissolving drugs, and to evaluate the treatment of clots.

Doctors see many patients with neck and arm pain, numbness and tingling. Physical examination tests for neurogenic TOS have major limitations. In contrast, modern imaging tests clearly show anatomic variations, arm motion, and compression of the brachial plexus, helping to prove the diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome.


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Doctors treat venous TOS by urgently removing venous blood clot that causes the syndrome. Later, doctors must repair any damaged vein segment and the structures that compress the vein.

Doctors treat arterial TOS with emergency surgery to remove blood clots that block blood flow to the arm. Later, doctors must repair any damaged arterial segment and remove any structures that compress the artery.

Treatment of neurogenic TOS requires removal of abnormal soft tissues or a segment of first rib, depending on the structures that compress the brachial plexus.


Learn More

Doctors know thoracic outlet syndrome as TOS. Specifically, the thoracic outlet is the hollow space above your collarbone, between your shoulder and your neck. If you want to find your thoracic outlet, place your fingers on the side of your neck and slide down to the space above your collarbone.

The thoracic outlet has many anatomic variations that can cause narrowing of the thoracic outlet, often worse with arm motion. This narrowing compresses the vessels or nerves, causing blood clot, pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or muscle wasting. Clinical diagnosis of TOS is limited, but MRI can show anatomic abnormalities, compression, and blood clots.


Learn More

Formation or migration of a blood clot causes the sudden onset of pain, swelling, or weakness in patients with arterial TOS or venous TOS. As a result, doctors focus imaging tests to find these blood clots. Once confirmed, doctors use further imaging tests to administer clot-dissolving drugs, and to evaluate the treatment of clots.

Doctors see many patients with neck and arm pain, numbness and tingling. Physical examination tests for neurogenic TOS have major limitations. In contrast, modern imaging tests clearly show anatomic variations, arm motion, and compression of the brachial plexus, helping to prove the diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome.


Learn More

Doctors treat venous TOS by urgently removing venous blood clot that causes the syndrome. Later, doctors must repair any damaged vein segment and the structures that compress the vein.

Doctors treat arterial TOS with emergency surgery to remove blood clots that block blood flow to the arm. Later, doctors must repair any damaged arterial segment and remove any structures that compress the artery.

Treatment of neurogenic TOS requires removal of abnormal soft tissues or a segment of first rib, depending on the structures that compress the brachial plexus.


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We can help. Ask us a question about thoracic outlet syndrome. Find a NeoVista® imaging partner near you. Connect with a TOS specialist. Get a consultation for your TOS. Make an appointment with the NeoVista® TOS Multi-Specialty Group. Or share a TOS news article or TOS resource to help other TOS patients.


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At present, no gold standard exists for the diagnosis of neurogenic TOS. Doctors use many clinical tests that have poor accuracy. Even if a doctor diagnoses TOS accurately, the exact cause remains unknown in any patient.

Fortunately, modern imaging tests show the causes of each type of TOS in great detail. 

We have spent a lot of time and effort learning about the diagnosis of TOS. We feel that our unique MRI examination improves the diagnosis of patients with thoracic outlet syndrome. NeoVista® examinations are performed throughout the country. Our imaging partners share our passion to improve the diagnosis and treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome.


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We hear lots of TOS patient stories. And we feel for each patient. We know its hard to recover from TOS. And we know the system doesn’t always help.

That’s why we made this website. We hope to provide education, answers, and inspiration for all TOS patients. We can help TOS patients meet each other, and find TOS providers.

You can learn the anatomy of the thoracic outlet, and what causes TOS. Learn how doctors diagnose TOS, and what tests they can order to show the causes. Understand these tests, and how they can help you. Find TOS specialists around the country. Find other resources around the web to learn other opinions and treatments. And you can ask us for help directly with your case.


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