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Thoracic Outlet Decompression

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Vascular surgeons at the University of Miami Health use thoracic outlet decompression to treat thoracic outlet syndrome. Thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of conditions that cause compression of the blood vessels or nerves in the space between the collarbone and first rib, which is known as the thoracic outlet.

  • There are three types of thoracic outlet decompression:
  • Transaxillary approach
  • Supraclavicular approach
  • Infraclavicular approach


If you have thoracic outlet syndrome and medications and physical therapy haven’t been enough to relieve your symptoms, you may be a candidate for thoracic outlet decompression.

What to Expect

Transaxillary Approach

In this type of decompression, your vascular surgeon begins by making an incision in your chest. Your surgeon locates your first rib, divides the muscles covering that rib, and removes a portion of the rib to decrease compression. One major benefit of this type of thoracic outlet decompression is that your surgeon has good access to your first rib without risk of damaging nerves or blood vessels. At the same time, your surgeon will only have limited access and if your compression is complex and originates from multiple nerves or muscles, this approach may not suffice to relieve all pressure.

Supraclavicular Approach

In this type of decompression, your vascular surgeon begins by making an incision just under your neck. Once underneath your skin, your surgeon assesses for signs of trauma or the muscles that are causing your compression symptoms. Depending on what he or she finds, your surgeon might remove the muscle causing your symptoms, repair the blood vessels that have been compressed, or remove the rib that is compressed.

Infraclavicular Approach

In this type of decompression, your vascular surgeon begins by making an incision under your collarbone and across your chest. Once underneath your skin, your surgeon assesses to determine which veins are being compressed. He or she will repair the blood vessels that have been compressed and are causing symptoms related to thoracic outlet syndrome.

Why Choose UHealth?

Leading-edge imaging care in South Florida. Our doctors are also researchers discovering new ways to improve diagnosis and treatment. That means you can get some of today’s most promising advancements through clinical trials. You benefit from the latest developments that are fast-tracked from the lab to the bedside.

Advanced, hard-to-find procedures. Our doctors are committed to caring for every patient. That’s why they offer the latest treatments, including limb salvage, endovascular grafting and thoracic outlet decompression, to improve your blood flow. 

All the care you need, from one physician. Our vascular surgeons perform a wide range of procedures so you can have the same physician for any vascular care you need as your condition changes. Whether you need a stent replaced or a vein grafted, you can always turn to the doctor you trust.

Experienced doctors, reliable results. UHealth vascular surgeons perform hundreds of stent placements, angiograms and more every year. You can rely on their experience to help you avoid complications and have a positive outcome. 

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Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.