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Neck and shoulder disability following reconstruction with the pectoralis major pedicled flap


  • Presented at the 7th International Conference on Head and Neck Cancer, San Francisco, California, U.S.A., July 19–23, 2008.

  • The authors have no funding, financial relationships, or conflicts of interest to disclose.



To conduct a comprehensive assessment of shoulder and neck function following the pectoralis major pedicled flap (PMPF) for head and neck reconstruction.


Case-control study.


The study group consisted of laryngectomized patients who underwent PMPF and a control group of those who underwent standard laryngectomy. Bilateral quantitative measurements of shoulder strength and range of motion (ROM) and neck ROM by a blinded physiotherapist and subjective quality-of-life assessment using the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI) and Neck Disability Index (NDI) questionnaires were collected. Lateral cervical radiographs in the neutral, flexion, and extension positions were evaluated by a blinded neuroradiologist. The main outcome measures were shoulder ROM, strength, and SPADI scores; physical and radiologic measurements of neck ROM; and NDI Score.


Shoulder analysis showed a significantly reduced flexion angle (P = .043) and combined internal/external rotation angle on the operated side (P = .027) and a significant strength reduction for the flexion, external rotation, and adduction domains (P < .05). SPADI score analysis showed a significantly higher disability score (P = .017) and total score (P = .009) on the PMPF side. Neck physical analysis showed significant differences in extension (P = .013) and total ROM distances (P = .002) but not flexion (P = .184). The total flexion/extension angular ROM was reduced in the PMPF population (P = .05) due to a reduced neck extension excursion angle from a neutral position (P = .04).


The PMPF for head and neck reconstruction is associated with a limitation in neck ROM attributed to a loss in extension and reduced shoulder strength and ROM.