Thoracic outlet refers to the outlet from the chest that nerves & blood vessels traverse on their way into the arms. These structures are compressed at the outlet by muscles, squeezed between collar bone & rib or compressed by extra ribs in the neck. Significant compression leads to symptoms or thoracic outlet syndrome. The symptoms are predominantly & primarily neurologic in nature -numbness, tingling & weakness of the hand especially the ring & small fingers. Motion especially with the arms up & shoulders back aggravates the problem. Uncommonly there are symptoms of blood vessel compression.
Treatment is dependent on the symptoms present & cause of compression. In some cases it is posture related & only physical therapy is required. In other cases removal of an extra rib or congenital band compressing the outlet or some other surgical treatment is required. Surgical therapy can be unreliable in the relief of symptoms.