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Successful Return to Active Duty after First Rib Resection for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Published:August 23, 2019DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avsg.2019.06.009

      Background

      The optimal surgical approach and treatment algorithm for thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) remain controversial. We sought to examine the outcomes of patients treated at a military medical treatment facility (MTF) for TOS.

      Methods

      A retrospective review was performed on all patients who had a first rib resection (FRR) for TOS over a 9-year period at a single MTF. Patient demographics, perioperative details, and patient outcomes were examined. Active duty (AD) status and return to AD were reviewed.

      Results

      From 2008 to 2016, 33 FRRs were performed in 32 patients. Of these, 30 patients were on AD with a mean age of 27 years (range, 19–44). The 29 male and 4 female patients were treated for symptoms of venous (23), neurogenic (6), or arterial (4) TOS. The mean time from onset of symptoms was 11 months (range, 1 to 120). The FRR was performed via a transaxillary (13), supraclavicular (12), or paraclavicular (8) approach. Of 21 AD patients with venous TOS, 16 (76%) underwent preoperative thrombolysis. A postoperative venogram or ultrasound was performed in 20 patients, documenting vein patency in 18 (90%). Nine patients underwent subsequent venoplasty or stent placement. Most patients (15) were placed on anticoagulation for 1–6 months. Two AD patients had perioperative complications including a lymph leak and brachial plexus palsy. Twenty-four (89%) patients returned to AD status. One recruit never returned to AD after successful FRR, and two other patients did not return for medical reasons unrelated to the FRR.

      Conclusions

      Despite a variety of surgical approaches and often delayed presentation, we identified a high percentage of postoperative vein patency and return to AD status in our population. The debate over surgical approach remains; however, a multimodal approach individualized to the patient's presentation and meticulous surgical technique led to successful outcomes in our healthy military population.
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