Decompressing the Brachial Plexus to Relieve Pain of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Debilitating Pain from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Ladonna came to see Dr. Tollestrup for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and evaluation of pain, paresthesias, and motor weakness involving the right shoulder girdle and upper extremity.

A few years ago, Ladonna had a traumatic dislocation of the right shoulder. This was followed by four more spontaneous dislocation events within a period of several months. She underwent an arthroscopic procedure to try and prevent these repeat spontaneous dislocations.

After surgery, she experienced progressive worsening of symptoms. The first thing she noticed was severe pain in the posterior deltoid area. Steroid injections helped this for a couple of months each time however her symptoms continued to widen. She started to develop severe pain along the medial border of the right scapula. Radiating from the neck to the scapular angle. She went on to develop pain centered around the elbow, both medial and lateral, pain radiating throughout the dorsal forearm from elbow to wrist and into the dorsum of the hand, and volar wrist pain with radiation of the pain in the palm of the hand and paresthesias involving the entire hand.

Forced Life Change from Constant Pain

Eventually, the symptoms became severe enough that she was forced to retire from her job as a physical therapist as the vigorous use of the right upper extremity caused the symptoms to become excruciatingly painful. Ladonna that a year off work and then decided to go back to school to learn to cut hair. She now works as a hairstylist. She states that recently she tried to also go to massage therapy school. One week into her clinical work, the pain became so severe in the right upper extremity that she had to drop out.

The symptoms in the right arm and hand wake her up multiple times at night. Often she will be in a sitting position which allows her to sleep for a more extended period of time but she still frequently wakes up nonetheless.

At her lowest point, LaDonna considered suicide since her pain was so unrelenting. Pain impacted her personal life because she never knew how she would feel from day to day so it was hard to plan anything with her significant other.

Upon comprehensive physical examination and careful evaluation of her clinical history, Dr. Tollestrup diagnosed LaDonna with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. He surgically decompressed her Brachial Plexus which is located in the neck area. This was the source of her pain.

Second Chance after Surgery

After surgery LaDonna says she has all of her dexterity back in her fingers, she’s sleeping through the night and most importantly has no need for pain medication.

After her surgery, LaDonna said she was grateful to Dr. Tollestrup for saving her life.

Watch LaDonna’s story on video as she describes her pain and her journey back to health with the help of Dr. Tollestrup.

If you or someone you know has pain in their upper extremities with symptoms that can mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, please contact Dr. Tollestrup’s office at 702-666-0463. He might be able to help. You can also fill out a form on the right side of this page.

LaDonna had surgery with Dr. Tollestrup to decompress her brachial plexus. Now she is pain free and has all of her dexterity back in her hands and fingers.

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