Ben Conners – swimmer, outdoor enthusiast



A blood clot in his arm sent Ben Conners to his doctor in November 2012. The exam revealed compression of the vein just under his clavicle, known as venous thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). Ben’s body architecture provided a narrower-than-average space for his vein, plus he’d bulked up his muscles swimming, leading to more compression. His blood flow was squeezed, causing clotting. After tests, surgery appeared to be the best option.

Ben and his dad did some research and discovered that Dr. Stephen Annest of the Vascular Institute of the Rockies and Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center is one of the nation’s top vascular surgeons, recognized for pioneering work on TOS. Ben’s call to the Institute led to a next-day appointment and, after preliminary testing, surgery was scheduled the next week.

“Without the surgery, Dr. Annest told me I’d have blood clots all of the time. That wasn’t feasible for me, as I’m an outdoor guy and not always close to medical help. He told me the surgery had an 80 percent chance of getting me back to 100 percent,” Ben said.

Ben started physical therapy about three months post-surgery and reports he had full range-of-motion within another two months. “I’ve just been doing my thing since then – hiking, skiing and all sorts of stuff. I was back to 100 percent within six months with about as good a recovery as possible. Based on the stories I’ve heard, that has to do with the fact the surgery was done really well.”