For Patients at the Washington University Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

The primary purpose of the Washington University Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome at Barnes-Jewish Hospital is to better treat patients.

We have tried to provide information that we hope will be helpful to our patients in order to better understand the diagnosis, non-surgical management, and surgical treatment of all types of TOS, including:

We have also provided information here that may help in navigating work-related and legal issues surrounding TOS. This section also includes some basic information on our approach to caring for patients with TOS, what you can expect in the course of evaluation and treatment, and details that may be useful in planning a visit to our Center.

General Information on the Diagnosis of TOS

The diagnosis of all types of TOS begins with
  1. Obtaining detailed information from the patient about the history of the symptoms
  2. Review of medical records and test results from previous physicians and health-care providers
  3. Targeted physical examination by the consulting physician

It is usually possible to either exclude the likelihood of TOS or reach a working clinical diagnosis of TOS based on this information. Additional testing procedures may be considered to further exclude other conditions or to help solidify the initial clinical diagnosis. It is important to recognize that because all types of TOS are rare, precise and early diagnosis is often a challenge. Many of our patients reach us only after having gone through a long period of evaluation, testing, and treatments by other specialists.

Treatment for TOS may include either non-surgical management or surgery. Optimal treatment for all three forms of TOS requires the experience and expertise of health care professionals knowledgeable about these conditions, and a great deal of patience. The Washington University Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome at Barnes-Jewish Hospital draws upon a multi-disciplinary team of specialists who are among the leaders in the care and treatment of TOS.