Posterior upper rib excision for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome-feasibility and early outcomes
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Background: There are several surgical treatment options for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome (n-TOS). However, the first rib has been shown to be the common denominator of all TOS forms and the degree of its resection has been shown to correlate with the long-term success. Objective: To demonstrate the feasibility of posterior upper rib excision (PURE) and report early outcomes. Methods: Nine patients presented with signs and symptoms of n-TOS. Preoperative evaluation involved physical and neurological examination, arm visual analog score (VAS), cervical X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cervical spine, and brachial plexus MRI. All patients were operated at a single institution by a single surgeon. Postoperatively, clinical and radiological data were collected. Results: There were 2 men and 7 women in the study with 10 procedures performed. The age range was 18 to 45 with mean of 36.6 yr. Mean preoperative arm visual analog scale score was 7.8. The patients underwent posterior upper rib excision (PURE) by a single surgeon. One patient had bilateral surgery. The causes of TOS were fibrous bands, enlarged C7 transverse processes, narrow scalene triangle, and accessory ribs. All patients improved after surgery in terms of arm pain and quality of life. Postoperative mean visual analog scale score was 1.1 at 6 mo. In addition, neurological examination was normal at 6 mo postoperatively and all patients returned to their previous full-time jobs. Conclusion: Posterior upper rib excision is a feasible surgical option for n-TOS.