Single CT-guided chemodenervation of the anterior scalene muscle with botulinum toxin for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome

Paul J. Christo, Dana K. Christo, Adam J. Carinci, Julie A. Freischlag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine pain relief in patients with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (NTOS) after a single, low dose injection of botulinum toxin A (Botox) into the anterior scalene muscle (ASM) under computed tomographic (CT) guidance. Design: Prospective longitudinal study. Setting: Academic medical institution. Patients: Patients 18 years of age and older were evaluated for potential scalenectomy and first rib resection using the transaxillary approach at the study institution between 2005 and 2008. All patients had failed physical therapy. A total of 29 procedures on 27 participants were studied. Interventions: A single, 20-unit injection of Botox into the ASM under CT-guidance. Outcome Measures: Short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire (SF-MPQ) prior to and at 1, 2, and 3 months post-Botox toxin injection. Results: There was a decline in pain during the 3 months subsequent to Botox injection as noted by the following components of the SF-MPQ: sensory (P = 0.02), total (P = 0.05), visual analog scale (VAS [. P = 0.04]), and present pain intensity (PPI) score (P = 0.06). The proportion of patients reporting more intense pain scores did not return to the pre-intervention level at 3 months post-Botox injection. Conclusion: Patients experienced substantial pain relief in months 1 and 2 following a single Botox injection into the ASM under CT guidance. Significant pain reduction was noted for 3 months after Botox injection with respect to both sensory and VAS scores, and the total and PPI scores approximated statistical significance. After 3 months, patients experienced a 29% decrease in the sensory component of their pain as well as an approximate 15% reduction in their VAS score. A single, CT-guided Botox injection into the ASM may offer an effective, minimally invasive treatment for NTOS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-511
Number of pages8
JournalPain Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Anterior Scalene Muscle
  • Botulinum Toxin (Botox)
  • Computed Tomographic Imaging (CT)
  • McGill Pain Questionnaire
  • Pain Relief
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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