Sensory changes associated with selective neck dissection

Scott H. Saffold, Mark K. Wax, Anthony Nguyen, James E. Caro, Peter E. Andersen, Edwin C. Everts, James I. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective: To evaluate sensory changes in the head and neck region associated with selective neck dissection with or without preservation of cervical root branches. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: University tertiary referral hospital and a Veterans Affairs hospital. Patients: Fifty-seven patients who had undergone 84 neck dissections with or without preservation of the sensory cervical root branches 3 or more months before evaluation. Interventions: Questionnaire combined with head and neck sensory examination. Main Outcome Measures: Neck and facial sensory function. Results: Neck dissections with preservation of the cervical rootlets were most likely to be associated with a small area of anesthesia in the upper neck below the body of the mandible and anterior to the mid-body of the mandible (P = .03). Neck dissections without rootlet-preserving technique increased the area of anesthesia to include all other areas of the neck (P = .02). Conclusions: Preservation of the cervical root branches resulted in a small, limited, and uniform area of the neck rendered permanently anesthetic. Conversely, sacrifice of the nerve branches led to a pattern of anesthesia involving the entire neck.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-428
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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