What is Spinal Accessory Nerve / The Radical Neck Dissection

If you have suffered a spinal injury, one of the more common injuries is a spinal accessory nerve injury. This type of injury is referred to as a secondary injury because it occurs due to another injury already present. These types of injuries can be caused by a slip, fall, or other accident. It can also occur from repetitive motions over time or by a sudden jerking motion. This type of injury is usually caused by spinal inflammatory disease.

Spinal Accessory Nerve
spinal cord

A spinal accessory nerve injury normally involves the nucleus pulposus, which is a fluid-filled sac that cushions the ends of the spinal cord. The nerves actually pass through the nucleus pulposus. The nerves can become compressed due to a prolonged standing position or from a sudden jerking motion. When the spinal cord starts moving in a way it is not meant to move, it can cause friction and damage to delicate tissues.

When the spinal accessory nerve becomes injured, the area affected may appear to be swollen, hot and tender. Usually, there is a loss of sensation and a tingling sensation along with weakness in the muscles of the upper back. Usually, the muscles of the scapula are affected. In a majority of cases, the injury will involve the shoulder muscles and the abdominal muscles. Other injuries of the scapula tend to involve the triceps or the trapeze muscles.

Spinal accessory nerves are similar to those of the upper spinal cord. The difference is that the former is often caused by injuries to the vertebrae. This type of injury normally involves small tears in the soft tissue of the spine. This results in the fibres of the spinal accessory nerve being exposed. When these fibres are exposed, they get pinched between the bones. This results in irritation and inflammation and can eventually lead to a herniated disc.

Another common cause for the posterior cervical triangle is a herniated disc. This develops when the outer protective fibrous ring on top of the nucleus pulposus muscle leaks. This causes the outer rings of tissue to push outward. Once this happens, it pushes up on the facet joints and discs. In most cases, the facet joints are the ones that are damaged because they are shallow.

Spinal Accessory Nerve
neck surgery

One less frequent cause of spinal accessory nerve injury is neck surgery. One of the common types of neck surgery is a hysterectomy. Sometimes a surgeon removes the testicles or the ovaries in patients with this problem. When the nerves become pinched, this causes severe pain, numbness, and tingling sensations, which are common symptoms after neck surgery.

Spinal Accessory Nerve
Upper Cervical Spine

One last thing to mention is the relationship between spinal accessory nerve injury to the upper cervical spine. The main source of this is an injury to the superior cervical spine, which is the portion that controls the major organs such as the heart, lungs, and stomach. The most common symptoms after this type of trauma include weakness, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and sweating. To protect yourself from these symptoms, your surgeon will likely perform a thorough medical exam. He will also likely do some laboratory tests to determine if the patient has some sort of muscular imbalance, as evidenced by muscle weakness or imbalances.

If you think you might be a candidate for laryngoplasty (a procedure that involves surgically remaking the larynx), then be sure to look up information on it first. You can find it easily on the internet. Look up “radical neck dissection” and then Google scholar. Look at the top of the first page and you will find a link to an article on laryngoplasty. Make sure you read it, especially the first couple of paragraphs because it contains information about what to expect from the surgery itself and also a little about what happens during the procedure. You should also pay close attention to any photographs you read because they will give you a better idea of what a larynx surgery can do for you.

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