Neck dissection and the clinical appearance of post-operative shoulder disability: the post-operative role of physiotherapy

Authors

  • D.T. LAUCHLAN msc , bsc , mcsp , lecturer in physiotherapy ,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Health and Social Care, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow
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  • J.A. McCAUL phd , frcs(omfs), frcs(glasg), fdsrcps, mb, chb(honours), bds(honours), maxillofacial surgeon,

    1. St Lukes Hospital, Bradford
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  • T. McCARRON bsc , mappsc , pgd(biom), pgc(mt), mcsp, mmacp, fhea, lecturer in physiotherapy

    1. School of Health and Social Care, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK
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Douglas T. Lauchlan, School of Health and Social Care, Glasgow Caledonian University, Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow G4 0BA, UK (e-mail: Douglas.Lauchlan@gcal.ac.uk).

Abstract

This paper critically reviews the literature, describing a post-operative phenomenon which is traditionally seen by physiotherapists in the immediate inpatient setting, following neck dissection (ND) for head and neck cancer. The presence and incidence of this condition is explored and the potential impact on the surviving patient's quality of life is considered. The nature and development of shoulder disability following ND is investigated and proposed roles of key anatomical structures involved are considered with relation to pathodynamics. A model for understanding the assessment and holistic manangement of this condition is offered and the potential implications for physiotherapy practice in primary care are considered.

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