Lessons Learned in the Surgical Treatment of Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome over 10 Years

Kendall C. Likes, Megan S. Orlando, Quinn Salditch, Serene Mirza, Anne Cohen, Thomas Reifsnyder, Ying Wei Lum, Julie A. Freischlag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate our extensive experience over a decade in the treatment of patients with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (NTOS) who underwent first rib resection and scalenectomy (FRRS). Methods: Patients treated with FRRS for NTOS from 2003 to 2013 were retrospectively reviewed using a prospectively maintained database. Results: Over 10 years, 286 patients underwent 308 FRRS. During the first 5-year period, 127 FRRS were performed (96 F, 31 M), with an average age of 36.9 years. During the second 5-year period, 181 FRRS were performed (143 F, 38 M), with an average age of 33 years. A total of 24 children (age ≤ 18years) underwent FRRS, 9 during the first 5 years and 15 during the second 5 years. When comparing the second 5-year period to the first 5-year period, patients were younger (P = .066), reported a significantly shorter length of preoperative symptoms (35.4 vs 52.1 months, P < .01), prior narcotic use decreased from 31.5% to 23.8% (P < .05), and a history of prior surgical intervention on the ipsilateral side (head, neck, and shoulder) increased from 30.1% to 51.9% (P < .01). Use of lidocaine blocks as a diagnostic tool (57%-35.4%, P = .06) and Botox blocks as a therapeutic tool (29.1%-12.7%, P < .01) decreased in the second 5 years with similar positive results. Improved or fully resolved symptoms following FRRS increased from 89% in the first 5 years to 92.8% in the second 5 years. Average length of follow-up over the 10-year period was 13.4 months. Conclusion: Excellent results were seen in this surgical series reported for NTOS. Younger patients with shorter duration of symptoms with less narcotic use led to even better FRRS results in the second 5 years of surgical intervention. An established vascular practice for referrals for NTOS resulted in an increased number of appropriate patients for surgical intervention, requiring fewer lidocaine and/or Botox injections preoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-11
Number of pages4
JournalVascular and endovascular surgery
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 20 2015


  • FRRS
  • NTOS
  • TOS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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