The relationship between shoulder pain and damage to the cervical plexus following neck dissection

Dilber M., Kasapoglu F., Erisen L., Basut O., Tezel I.

EUROPEAN ARCHIVES OF OTO-RHINO-LARYNGOLOGY, vol.264, no.11, pp.1333-1338, 2007 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 264 Issue: 11
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00405-007-0357-2
  • Page Numbers: pp.1333-1338


The aim of our study was to evaluate the relationship between shoulder pain and damage to the cervical plexus after neck dissection. The study was performed prospectively on 34 neck sides of 17 patients with laryngeal cancer who underwent laryngectomy plus bilateral selective neck dissection (II, III, IV, +/- VI) at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology of Uludag University between December 2003 and October 2004. The cervical plexus was protected on one side of the neck and sacrificed on the other, while the accessory nerve was spared on both sides. The degree of sensorial innervation of the cervical plexus and shoulder pain were evaluated in the preoperative period and postoperatively at 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months. Data obtained from both sides of the neck were compared. Sensory reception scores were statistically higher in the neck sides in which the cervical plexus was spared than in those where the plexus was sacrificed (P < 0.05). However, the degree of shoulder pain was similar on both sides of the neck (P > 0.05). Damage to the cervical plexus during neck dissection causes loss of sensorial innervation of the neck, but sacrificing the cervical plexus during selective neck dissection has no negative effect on shoulder pain.