Thoracic Outlet Decompression Surgery | MedStar Health

Surgery to relieve pressure on blood vessels and nerves

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) causes pressure on the blood vessels and nerves between your collarbone and the first rib. This can cause swelling, discoloration, weakness, numbness, or pain in the shoulder, arm, and fingers. If physical therapy or medication is unable to relieve the pressure, your doctor may recommend a surgery called thoracic outlet decompression.

The doctors in our Vascular and Endovascular Program can perform this surgery using several approaches, depending on the severity of the damage and the source of compression. Your surgery may include one or more of the following:

  • Repairing compressed blood vessels

  • Removing abnormal muscles

  • Removing fibrous bands

  • Removing the first rib


  • Axillo-Subclavian Vein ThrombosisAxillo-subclavian vein thrombosis, also known as Paget-Schroetter syndrome, develops when a rib or a nearby muscle presses on the axillary vein in the armpit or the subclavian vein in front of the shoulder.

  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS): Thoracic outlet syndrome involves the pinching and compression of blood vessels and nerves in the thoracic outlet, the space between the collarbone and first rib.


  • Angiogram (Angiography)An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.

  • Chest X-rayChest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart, and chest wall.

  • Computerized Tomography (CT) ScanThe cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.

Our locations

Distance from Change locationEnter your location

MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital

5601 Loch Raven Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21239

MedStar Union Memorial Hospital

201 E. University Pkwy.
Baltimore, MD 21218

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center

9000 Franklin Square Dr.
Baltimore, MD 21237

MedStar Washington Hospital Center

110 Irving St. NW
Washington, DC 20010

Additional information

Vascular and Endovascular Program

Partner with a recognized leader in offering care ranging from straightforward vascular disease to the most complex vascular disorders.

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