JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Regrown first rib in patients with recurrent thoracic outlet syndrome.

BACKGROUND: Recurrent symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) after first rib resection have varying etiologies. Regrowth of a first rib is a rare event. Recurrent symptoms in the presence of a regrown rib strongly suggest a causal relationship. We report our experience with recurrent symptoms of TOS and regrown first ribs.

METHODS: We identified patients with recurrent TOS symptoms and regrown first ribs presented between 1995 and 2012. Details regarding their presentation, evaluation, and treatment were gathered.

RESULTS: Eight patients (6 women and 2 men) presenting with recurrent TOS symptoms and regrown first ribs underwent 10 decompression surgeries. Prior surgeries included supraclavicular first rib resection (5), transaxillary first rib resection (5), scalenectomy (5), cervical rib resection (1). The average period between initial surgery and reoperation was 4.7 years. Average age at current presentation was 40.8 years (range 29-52). All patients (8) represented with neurogenic symptoms and 1 patient with concomitant venous TOS symptoms. Presenting symptoms included pain (8), numbness and tingling (7), weakness (6), headache (2), and venous congestion (3). Initial treatment included physical therapy in all. Preoperative assessment included chest X-rays (8), magnetic resonance imaging (7), electrodiagnostic studies (8), venography (2), and anterior scalene muscle block (2). Surgical approach included transaxillary resection of the regrown first rib (10), neurolysis of brachial plexus (10), scalenectomy (5), and lysis of subclavian vein (1). After an average follow-up of 10.8 months, resolution of symptoms included 4 complete and 4 partial.

CONCLUSIONS: Regrowth of the first rib is a rare event. There is a concordance between a regrown rib and TOS symptoms. Patients presenting with recurrent TOS symptoms and a regrown first rib have a high probability of improvement with resection of the regrown rib.

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