Date: 28 Dec 2005

Neurological complications following functional neck dissection

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A retrospective study was done to assess the incidence and factors associated with neurological complications in patients who have undergone a functional neck dissection (FND). Four hundred forty-two epidermoid cancer patients operated on from January 1984 to December 2002 were included in the study. Clinical parameters, neurological sequelae, and other complications were evaluated in all cases. The incidence of neural damage was calculated on the nerves at risk ( n =714). Paralysis of the 11th nerve occurred in 12 cases (1.68%). A lesion of the marginal branch of the 7th cranial nerve was observed in nine cases (1.26%). Bernard-Horner’s syndrome and hypoglossal nerve paralysis were noted in four and three cases (0.56 and 0.42%), respectively. Thus, the incidence of neurological sequelae after FND is low. Neurological complications were not associated with either clinical parameters or non-neurological complications ( P >0.05). None of the factors studied can predict the appearance of neural problems in the postoperative period.