Thoracic outlet syndrome in adolescents: a case series

F B Nava, M Barrial, A Martínez, E Alonso, S Barrena, L Martínez, M López-Santamaría, C A de la Torre
Cirugía Pediátrica: Organo Oficial de la Sociedad Española de Cirugía Pediátrica 2020 July 1, 33 (3): 110-114

OBJECTIVE: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is caused by a compression of the brachial plexus and the subclavian vessels in their passage to the upper limb. It mostly occurs in women aged 20-50, so it is infrequent in children. We present our results in the diagnosis and management of pediatric TOS.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Retrospective study of patients diagnosed with TOS between December 2017 and June 2018. Clinical, radiological, surgical, and evolution variables were assessed.

RESULTS: Five TOS were diagnosed in 4 patients - one TOS was bilateral. Mean age at diagnosis was 12.5 years (7-15), and there was a delay in diagnosis of 153 days (10-36). TOS was either venous (3) or neurogenic (2). Patients presented with pain (5/5), edema (4/5), hypoesthesia (3/5), decreased strength (3/5), and cervical pain (2/5). One patient presented with sport-related pain. Neurophysiological study was normal in three cases. Two patients presented bone anomalies at CT-scan. Three surgeries were performed in two patients using the supraclavicular approach with resection of the anomalous first rib and scalenectomy. One patient refused surgery, and another patient remained expectant without reappearance of symptoms. Postoperative follow-up was 9 months (6-12), with progressive improvement of symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: TOS may occur in adolescents in the form of upper limb pain and edema. Imaging tests are recommended to detect abnormal anatomical structures. The supraclavicular approach represents a safe and effective technique in decompressing the thoracic outlet.

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