Bilateral coracoclavicular joints as a rare cause of bilateral thoracic outlet syndrome and shoulder pain treated successfully by conservative means

Singapore Med J. 2009 Jun;50(6):e214-7.


The coracoclavicular joint (CCJ) is a rare anomalous joint. Symptomatic CCJ, being an exceptional rarity, makes it difficult to formulate a standard set of practice or guidelines. We report a 50-year-old Indian man, a machine operator by profession, who experienced bilateral shoulder pain and arm paraesthesia for two years, and was diagnosed with bilateral CCJ. The symptoms gradually increased, affecting his daily activities. Dynamic magnetic resonance imaging revealed the compression of the brachial plexus in extreme shoulder abduction. After a thorough search of the literature, we retrieved four similar cases, all of them treated with individualised protocols. None of the cases was bilateral. The lack of clear evidence in any particular direction and the patient's medical condition prompted us to give a conservative trial, before embarking on more invasive methods. He showed rapid response to the conservative treatment with remission of all symptoms. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported case of bilateral symptomatic CCJ with bilateral thoracic outlet syndrome, that was managed conservatively.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Joints / physiopathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Remission Induction
  • Shoulder / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnosis*
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnostic imaging
  • Shoulder Pain / therapy*
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Thoracic Outlet Syndrome / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome