Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Neck to Shoulder Accessory Nerve Damage

Lymph node was removed in 2007.  Accessory nerve was severed. I am limited to any active motion and in pain always. Is there any procedure to connect the nerve through surgery?

John R. Saunders, Jr, MD, MBA replies...

We recommend that spinal accessory nerves be repaired whenever possible. The problem may arise that a muscle that has be deprived of it's nerve input may fibrose.  This is why repairs are not as successful after a number of years rather than months. An EMG can see if there is potential for the muscle to be reinnervated.  That being said a repair is frequently helpful in relieving symptoms.  We have had problems with tendon transfers etc. to hold up over time. Below are some references.

John R. Saunders, Jr, MD, MBA
Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, Greater Baltimore Medical Center
Medical Director
Milton J. Dance, Jr. Head and Neck Center
Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Surgery at GBMC




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