Collar Bone Drop

Hi Everyone

7 months ago, I had a radical neck dissection which removed the SternoCleidoMastoid muscle, IJV but thankfully preserved the accessory nerve (bruised it though leading to a painful shoulder for about 5 months).

I'm a little confused though as the collar bone on the RHS has now dropped about 4 inches compared to the untouched LHS collar bone. The movement on the RHS shoulder is still nowhere near the same as the left but the bone is extremely close to my esophagus.

I had physio which helped strengthen the RHS shoulder and pull it back slightly but I still have a "man boob" on the RHS and a big lump of flab under the arm/shoulder joint which I cannot work out whether it's actually a build up of fat or lymphatic fluid as there is nothing on the other side, and I'm not a fat person.

Any advice would be gratefully received :)



  • longtermsurvivor
    longtermsurvivor Member Posts: 1,842 Member
    Hey Mr Steve
    Every now and then someone comes along with a situation that stumps the panel. Yours may be one of those situations. I'm sitting here trying to get a picture of the injury in my mind. And not doing very well with it, lol. Which end of the collar bone is depressed? Of course, centrally it is attached pretty firmly, and that attachment is bony,so it shouldn't move. The distal end, at the A/C joint is capable of "dropping", but the process of doing that would be indirect, in that the entire shoulder would have to drop to accomplish it. I'm trying to imagine how that would occur, failing to picture this adequately unless there was damage to the deltoids to the extent that the entire shoulder drooped. An enigma, indeed.

  • Hal61
    Hal61 Member Posts: 655
    Scapula rising
    Hi Steve, I'm with you man. It took almost a year after my dissection for my ENT who did my partial dissection to come clean, but he admitted that the musculo skeletal arrangement can shift a bit from dissection. My collarbone on my affected side--left--is declined slightly from the vertebrae out.

    More obvious in my case, my left scapula has been pushed up and the rounded tip of the scapula--shaped like a sloppily drawn heart--protrudes up into my trapezoid muscle about two inches away from my neck.

    I was told no nerves were cut, but some were obviously intimidated into shifting. It's not that uncommon and others on the board have mentioned it. I too have a bit more flab at the armpit on the left side.

    Simple arm lifting excersize has helped and I have most of the range of motion if I raise and lower my arm at my side a dozen or so times.

    My ENT said in his opinion, therapy, though helpful for strenghtening and range of motion for muscles, won't get the bone allignment back to where it was. My day pack strap keeps slipping off my left shoulder.

    It doesn't hurt though, and I can do about what I want with the arm, with slight restriction, so "acceptable new normal" class I guess.

    best, Hal