Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Surgery

NSMC physicians perform thoracic outlet syndrome surgery on the North Shore.

North Shore patients requiring thoracic outlet syndrome surgery find world-class cardiothoracic surgeons at North Shore Medical Center (NSMC).

Thoracic surgeon Dean M. Donahue, MD, Chief of Thoracic Surgery at NSMC Salem Hospital, is an expert in thoracic outlet syndrome treatment. He holds joint appointments at NSMC and Massachusetts General Hospital. North Shore patients of Dr. Donahue may receive treatment close to home at his Salem campus office, or they may choose to see him in Boston. His Salem number is 978.745.1581.

Thoracic outlet syndrome surgery options at NSMC.

Surgery is typically the last resort for treatment of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS).

TOS describes disorders arising from irritation, injury, or compression of the blood vessels and/or nerves around the thoracic outlet, an area around the lower neck and upper chest.

Thoracic outlet syndrome may have a variety of causes, from tumors and sleep disorders to poor posture and injury from lifting weights, athletic activity, carrying heavy shoulder loads or whiplash.

Physicians at NSMC may recommend several kinds of thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, depending on the severity and specifics of the condition. When a rib is compressing blood vessels or the nerve bundle, a cardiothoracic surgeon may remove the rib and scalene muscles as well as any compressive fibrous tissue around them. Thoracic outlet syndrome surgery may also involve repair of compressed veins or blood vessels, repairs to any structural problems of the artery, or cardiothoracic surgery to release a muscle that joins the chest and neck to relieve pressure on blood vessels and nerves.

Alternatives to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.

Prior to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, physicians may recommend a variety of non-surgical treatments, including:

  • Physical therapy to increase the range of motion in the neck and shoulders and to strengthen muscles and improve posture.
  • Medication to relax muscles or for pain relief.
  • Injections of cortisone to lower inflammation in a joint or muscle, or Botox injections to temporarily paralyze muscles and provide relief from pain.
  • Weight loss programs to help relieve the stress and pain that may be caused by too much weight on joints and muscles. 
  • Lifestyle changes, including modifications to daily activity, reducing strenuous activity, or adjustments in the layout of a workstation.
In addition to thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, patients will find comprehensive care for a wide range of medical conditions at NSMC, including hyperhidrosis treatment for excessive sweating, cardiac ablation for afib, a wide variety of primary care options, and more.