Thoracic Outlet Decompression

(Compression of nerves supplying the hand and arm)


Thoracic outlet syndrome is a syndrome characterised by the compression of the nerves that supply the hand and the arm. Thoracic outlet syndrome can cause various pain and movement problems to a patients hand and arm due to pressure against the nerves or blood vessels in the thoracic outlet, which is located behind and below your collarbone. The most common symptoms of pain include numbness, and weakness, especially when carrying heavy bags or working with the hands at shoulder level or above.

The most common cause of these syndromes is trauma, either from direct trauma to the neck or from the irritating presence of an incomplete extra rib (cervical rib) above the normal first rib.

  • Arranging your Treatment

    Before going ahead with this treatment, you will need to have an initial consultation with a specialist Consultant to go through your medical history and diagnosis. At this appointment, your consultant will confirm the exact treatment you require.
    If you would like to have an initial consultation, you can call us and we can help you find the consultant best for you.

    Alternatively, if you have already been diagnosed as needing a particular operation or treatment, our Reservations team can give you a guide price for this to be carried out at KIMS Hospital and book an appointment for you to meet a consultant.
    Call our Reservations team on 01622 237727 or email

  • Paying for your Treatment

    You can be treated at KIMS by using your private medical insurance or by paying for yourself.

    If you have private medical insurance, you will need to contact your insurer to ensure you are covered for the initial consultation prior to making an appointment and obtain an authorisation number. The insurance company will then need to be advised if you require further treatment. The insurance company usually settles bills on your behalf.
    If you are paying for your own treatment, you will need to pay for an initial consultation.

    This will be confirmed at the time of booking but is typically £150-£250. You will also need to pay for any associated diagnostic tests your consultant recommends (for example x-rays and blood tests).

    Following this consultation, if you don’t need any further treatment or if you decide paying for yourself isn’t the right option, there is no commitment to proceed further.
    If you require the operation or procedure to be carried out, you will receive a quote for your treatment. In most case this will be the fixed price package quoted on this website. If this quote is different for any reason, we will provide an explanation (see what’s included below). This quote is also subject to pre-assessment checks prior to your admission to hospital.

    Payment is required 7 days prior to admission.

Thoracic outlet decompression surgery is usually a last resort after more conventional treatments have failed. Surgical approaches are used successfully in cases where the first rib is compressing a vein, artery, or the nerve bundle. During this surgery you consultant will remove the first rib and scalene muscles and any compressive fibrous tissue. This procedure is called a First rib resection and scalenectomy and involves going through the underarm area or back of the neck area and removing the first rib, scalene muscles, and any compressive fibrous tissue to open the area to allow increased blood flow and/or reduce nerve compression. In some cases there may be a rudimentary rib or a cervical rib that can be causing the compression, which can be removed using the same technique.

To find out more:

If you would like to come to KIMS, contact our reservations team on 01622 237727 or email

Our Consultants

  • Mr Richard Gullan


    • Slipped Disc Removal
    • Thoracic Outlet Decompression
    • Trapped Nerve Release
  • Mr Richard Selway

    MA FRCS (Eng) FRCS (SN)

    • Slipped Disc Removal
    • Thoracic Outlet Decompression
    • Trapped Nerve Release
  • Mr Christos Tolias

    MB BS PhD FRCS (Eng) FRCS (SN)

    • Slipped Disc Removal
    • Thoracic Outlet Decompression
    • Trapped Nerve Release
  • Mr John Norris

    MB CHB (Bristol, 1986), FRCS (Edinburgh, 1990), FRCS(SN) (Intercollegiate, 1995), Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) 1997

    • Slipped Disc Removal
    • Thoracic Outlet Decompression
    • Trapped Nerve Release