Diagnosis of Neurogenic TOS

Neurogenic TOS is by far the most common type of TOS. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult type of TOS to diagnose. In the first place, patients experience a broad range of signs and symptoms. At the same time, doctors are often not aware of the diagnosis, or inexperienced in diagnosing patients with neurogenic TOS. Nonetheless, early diagnosis of neurogenic TOS makes a critical difference in treatment outcomes. As a result, modern imaging plays a vital role for doctors and patients with neurogenic TOS.

Symptoms, Clinical Examination, Lab tests and Imaging Tests of Neurogenic TOS


Patients with neurogenic TOS experience a broad range of symptoms. In general, neurogenic TOS may cause sensory or motor symptoms. Sensory symptoms include pain, abnormal sensations, abnormally increased or decreased sensation, or tingling. Motor symptoms may include loss of coordination, weakness or muscle wasting. While sensory symptoms often occur earlier, motor symptoms suggest more advanced disease. Also, abnormal regulation of blood flow caused by nerve damage may cause temperature changes of the arm, hand or fingers.It is important to note that symptoms are usually multiple, may be intermittent over time, and may change over the course of a day. Overall, patients find their lifestyle is significantly impacted by their symptoms.

Clinical Diagnosis

A standard neurologic examination performed by your doctor may be completely normal. However, TOS specialists know about special examinations that can help separate patients with neurogenic TOS from patients with other causes of neck and upper extremity pain. You can learn more about what to expect when you visit a qualified TOS specialist.

Laboratory Diagnosis

Unfortunately, there is no laboratory test that contributes significantly to the clinical diagnosis of neurogenic TOS. Notably, there is one test that has been historically ordered for patients with neurogenic TOS, and is still frequently ordered. Unfortunately, the historical legacy of this test has been one of generating controversy rather than diagnostic accuracy or progress.

Imaging Diagnosis

Fortunately for patients with neurogenic TOS, we are living in the golden age of medical imaging. And, while imaging of neurogenic TOS has lagged behind other imaging tests, imaging of TOS is now excellent and available. In general, there are many modalities used for imaging, ranging from x-rays to MRI. In specific, we will help you learn which tests are most applicable to your case.