SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • shoulder disability;
  • neck dissection;
  • literature review;
  • head and neck cancer

Background

The purpose of this article was to provide a review of the literature on shoulder disability after neck dissection.

Methods

A literature review was performed using Ovid Medline and Embase databases. A total of 306 abstracts and 78 full-text articles were reviewed. Forty-two articles were eligible for inclusion.

Results

Patients undergoing nerve-sacrifice neck dissections have greater disability and lower quality of life scores than those undergoing neck dissections with the least manipulation (ie, selective neck dissections). Shoulder impairments can still occur in patients undergoing selective neck dissections. Disability typically improves over time in patients undergoing nerve-sparing neck dissections.

Conclusion

There was significant variability in the literature in terms of the prevalence and recovery of shoulder morbidity after neck dissection. This variability may not just be related to surgical technique or rehabilitation, but also to study design, definitions, and the variability in disability questionnaires used. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 36: 299–308, 2014