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Terminology

Aneurysm a bulge, ballooning, or widening in an artery caused by a weakness in the wall of the artery

Anomalous or anomaly any part of the body which is not what is usual, normal or expected and is usually present from birth

 

Arteriolysis removal of scar tissue or other fibrous tissue from around an artery and essentially freeing the artery from any surrounding tissue

 

ATOS  arterial TOS which involves compression of the axillary-subclavian artery within the thoracic outlet

 

Atrophy the wasting (thinning) or loss of muscle tissue

Blood clot gel-like collection of blood that forms in your veins or arteries when blood changes from liquid to partially solid.

 

Blood thinners/anticoagulation medications that either slow down the body’s process of making blood clots or prevent blood cells from clumping together to form a clot

Botox Botulinum toxin which is a toxin that, when injected into muscles, prevents them from contracting and reduces spasm.  It is the toxin that causes the disease botulism, but if used in very small doses, it cannot cause botulism. 

 

Capillary Refill Test used for assessing blood flow through tissues like the skin.  Pressure is applied to the skin until it turns white and then the amount of time it takes for the blood to return and the skin to return to normal color is measured.

 

Cardiothoracic Surgeon  doctor who performs surgery on the organs in the chest, such as the heart, lungs and esophagus and the blood vessels that serve them.  However, a cardiothoracic surgeon who specializes in TOS treats all forms of TOS including NTOS.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome  a common condition that causes numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand and forearm when one of the major nerves to the hand (the median nerve) is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the wrist.

 

Cervical Radiculopathy  when a nerve in the neck is compressed or irritated at the point where it leaves the spinal cord resulting in pain in the shoulder, muscle weakness and numbness that travels down the arm into the hand.

 

Cervical Spine  the neck region of the spinal column which includes 7 stacked bones (C1-C7) in addition to discs, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and tendons

 

Cervical Sympathectomy surgical procedure involving removal or destruction of a part of the cervical sympathetic chain used to treat sympathetic hyperactivity as a component of NTOS or CRPS.

 

Collateral Veins  alternate or “backup” set of blood vessels that form and can take over blood flow when another vein becomes blocked or damaged

 

Compression a pressing or squeezing together usually of bodily structures

 

Congenital used to describe something that a person has had since birth

 

Costoclavicular Space  the area of the body where the clavicle (collarbone) and the first rib intersect or meet

 

CRPS/RSD  Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (aka Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) which is a severely disabling painful condition which usually occurs following an injury or surgery that results in symptoms that are in extreme excess of what would normally be expected for said injury or surgery.  It is associated with overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system.

 

CT Scan  an x-ray imaging procedure that uses a combination of a computer and x-rays to take images which are used to create 3-dimensional (3-D) views of tissues and organs which can be done with or without contrast material being administered to the patient

 

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome  a common condition that causes numbness, tingling, and pain in the hand and arm when one of the major nerves to the hand (the ulnar nerve) is squeezed or compressed as it travels through the elbow

 

Digital Emboli  blood clots in the small arteries of the fingers that traveled from a larger artery  

 

Disputed TOS  an outdated term previously used to describe a patient with symptoms of NTOS of which there is no evidence on EMG or nerve conduction study

 

Double Crush Syndrome  when a single nerve is compressed at 2 or more locations along its path causing numbness, tingling, and pain in the shoulder, arm or hand.

 

FRR/FRRS  First Rib Resection or First Rib Resection & Scalenectomy

 

Hypersensitivity when skin experiences pain or other sensory symptoms from touch or other stimuli which wouldn’t ordinarily cause symptoms

 

Hypertrophy increase in bulk (thickening) of muscle tissue or fibers

 

McCleery Syndrome the form of VTOS that does not involve the presence of a blood clot in the vein which results in symptoms during arm elevation and use which resolve at rest

 

MRI  a medical imaging technique that uses a magnetic field and computer-generated radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues in the body which can be done with or without contrast material being administered to the patient

 

Muscle Block  a procedure involving the injection of lidocaine or other local anesthetic into a muscle to temporarily prevent the muscle from contracting and being in spasm

 

Nerve Block  a procedure involving the injection of lidocaine or other local anesthetic near or around a nerve or nerves to deaden the nerves to prevent them from sending any signals usually to help with pain

 

Neurogenic giving rise to or arising from the nerves or the nervous system

 

Neurologist  a medical doctor specialist who diagnoses and treats diseases of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and muscles

 

Neurolysis  removal of scar tissue or other fibrous tissue from around nerve(s) and essentially freeing the nerve(s) from any surrounding tissue.  Sometimes referred to as neuroplasty.

 

Neurosurgeon  a medical doctor specialist who diagnoses and treats patients with injury to, or diseases/disorders of the brain, spinal cord and spinal column, and peripheral nerves within all parts of the body

 

NTOS  neurogenic TOS which involves compression of the brachial plexus nerves within the thoracic outlet

 

Occupational Therapy  a rehab specialty which focuses on improving a patient's ability to perform activities of daily living

 

Orthopedic Surgeon  a medical doctor specialist who diagnoses and treats disorders of the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and sometimes nerves.

 

Paget-Schroetter Syndrome the form of VTOS involving the presence of a blood clot within the axillary-subclavian vein

 

Pain Management Doctor  a medical doctor specialist who diagnoses and treats chronic pain usually through the use of medications and/or injections

 

Peripheral Nerve Surgeon  a medical doctor specialist usually with plastic and reconstructive surgery training who diagnoses and treats patients with peripheral nerve disorders including peripheral neuropathy, compression neuropathies such as carpal tunnel syndrome, peripheral nerve injuries, painful nerves (neuromas) and nerve tumors.

 

Physiatrist  a medical doctor also known as a Physical Medicine & Rehab doctor who treats a wide variety of medical conditions affecting the brain, spinal cord, nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons usually through the use of conservative treatment such as therapy, injections, or medication. 

 

Physical Therapy a rehab specialty which focuses on improving a patient’s ability to move, reduce or manage pain, restore function, and prevent disability

 

PMR/PMT  Pec Minor Release or Pec Minor Tenotomy

 

PMS  pec minor syndrome most often neurogenic pec minor syndrome which involves compression of the brachial plexus nerves by the pec minor muscle

 

Pulmonary Embolism  a blood clot in the lung which developed in and traveled from another vessel in the body which is a very serious condition that can be fatal

 

Radial Pulse  the pulse felt when blood is pumping through the radial artery which can be felt on the palm side of the wrist

 

Raynaud’s Syndrome a process in which the fingers (and less commonly, the toes) turn different colors (white, blue, and red) in response to certain triggers such as cold or stress. It can be associated with discomfort or a “pins and needles” sensation. It is due to the small blood vessels in the fingers that “spasm”, thus decreasing blood flow to the fingertips.

 

Recurrence  a return of symptoms of a condition after experiencing a period of symptom relief

 

Rib Resection  surgical removal of all or part of a rib

 

Scalene Triangle  area within the neck where compression of the brachial plexus nerves and subclavian artery takes place.  The sides are made up of the anterior scalene muscle and middle scalene muscle, and the bottom is made up of the first rib.

 

Scalenectomy  surgical removal of all or part of any scalene muscle usually in reference to the anterior or middle scalene muscles

 

Scalenotomy  surgical severing (detachment) of the anterior and/or middle scalene muscles from their attachment to the first rib but not removing them

 

Scar Tissue thick, dense, fibrous tissue that forms when normal tissue is destroyed by disease, injury, or surgery.

SCM  sternocleidomastoid muscle which is one of the largest and most superficial muscles in the neck.  It is mainly responsible for turning your neck and bending the head down toward the chest.

 

Subcoracoid Space  area of the body just below the coracoid process where compression of the brachial plexus, axillary vein, and axillary artery can occur by the pec minor muscle

 

Supraclavicular  area at the base of the neck just above the clavicle (collarbone)

 

Tenotomy surgical cutting or removal of tendon tissue sometimes also known as tendon release

 

Thrombosis/Thrombotic  formation of a blood clot in a vein or artery, of or relating to a blood clot

 

Upper Extremity  part of the body that includes the shoulder, arm, wrist, and hand

 

Vascular Surgeon  a medical doctor specialist who diagnoses and treats diseases of the arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels.  However, vascular surgeons who specialize in TOS treat all forms of TOS including NTOS.

 

Venolysis  removal of scar tissue or other fibrous tissue from around a vein and essentially freeing the vein from any surrounding tissue

 

VTOS  venous TOS which involves compression of the axillary-subclavian vein within the thoracic outlet

subcoracoid space
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