Meet Our Director
Robert W. Thompson, MD
Director of the Washington University Center for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Dr. Thompson was raised in Ann Arbor (MI) and graduated from Hope College (BA, 1979) and the University of Michigan School of Medicine (MD, 1983), followed by residency training in general surgery at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston (MA) (1983-1990). During residency, he obtained laboratory research training at The Children’s Hospital Boston under the mentorship of Drs. Patricia A. D’Amore and Judah Folkman, where he focused on cell biology, angiogenesis, and vascular disease. After serving an additional year as the assistant to the surgeon-in-chief at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Thompson completed a specialty fellowship in vascular surgery at the University of California, San Francisco (1991-1992). He then joined the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where he has been in academic practice for 17 years. Dr. Thompson is currently professor of surgery (Section of Vascular Surgery), radiology, and cell biology and physiology at Washington University School of Medicine.
Dr. Thompson is an experienced research investigator with more than 12 years of grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for which he directs a basic science laboratory focused on the pathophysiology and drug therapy of aortic aneurysms, a translational research program on the impact of metabolic syndrome and vascular disease, and clinical outcomes research on patients undergoing treatment for TOS. He has published more than 80 original manuscripts and over 60 chapters and reviews on various topics. Dr. Thompson is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Surgical Association, the Society for Vascular Surgery, and the American Heart Association, and he has been a regular member of several NIH research study sections and scientific journal editorial boards. Dr. Thompson is vice-chair for Research in the Department of Surgery and an active participant in the Washington University Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.
Dr. Thompson’s clinical practice is focused on all forms of thoracic outlet syndrome and upper extremity neurovascular compression disorders. The surgical management of patients with TOS is an area for which Dr. Thompson has acquired an unusually rich experience and for which his expertise is widely sought. In building a nationally recognized referral center for patients with TOS at Washington University, Dr. Thompson has worked to develop a highly knowledgable staff and an effective multidisciplinary team, which includes experts in physical therapy and rehabilitation, anesthesia and pain management, diagnostic and interventional radiology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, hand surgery, sports medicine, occupational and environmental health, and a number of other specialties. Dr. Thompson and his team currently evaluate more than 300 patients with all forms of TOS and perform approximately 150 surgical procedures for these conditions each year, representing an unusually large clinical experience for this group of rare disorders.