ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – First Chris Carpenter, now Jaime Garcia.
Two Cardinal pitchers were hit with the same serious injury just two years apart.
It’s called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and it involves compression of either the artery or nerves under the collarbone. The pain worsens when the arm is raised up in the air—especially when pitching.
“Most of the time, patients and athletes can be treated by stretching out some of your pectorals, your chest muscles, working on posture, get by without surgery,” says SLU Care orthopedic surgeon Dr. Scott Kaar at Saint Louis University Hospital. “So, surgery for this is really, really rare.”
He says in a typical case, doctors remove a rib to alleviate the pressure on the nerves.
Recovery time could be as quick as three to four months, but usually takes between six months and a year.
And Kaar says, like Carpenter, there’s no guarantee a pitcher will return to peak form following surgery.
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