neck dissection after effects

Besides the issue that I'm having with the radiation side effects that everyone here has been very helpful with on advise on my other post, I have another issue I would like to hear your comments on. If you don't mind.

I had surgery done for the tumor at the base of my tongue and right tonsil and then a dissection to remove one swollen lymph node just under my right cheek. This was all done on 7/1/15. The muscle from my right ear down to the shoulder is as hard as a rock and nothing I do seems to be able to get it to relax. the doc gave me some exercises to do but they don't seem to help at all. Also, the outer edge of my right ear from my ear lobe all the way up to the top and on the scalp behind the ear are tingling all the time. I want to say kind of numb but really hard to explain. Is almost closer to say that it is super sensitive 24/7. I cut a small piece of memory foam about 6" and cut a hole in the middle of it for my ear to fit into because the pressure from the pillow during the night makes it very sore. Naturally this would be on the side that I'm used to sleeping on and it's very hard to change that habbit.

So, anyone else have or had this and will it go away at some time? Or were some nerves cut during the operation and it wil be this way forever?



  • louhou13
    louhou13 Member Posts: 46

    Hey Gary,

    I had a bilateral modified neck dissection(ear to ear) levels 1-5 in October 2012. Had some stiffness and lots of tingling along with numbness. The stiffness eased up before the tingling but neither totally disappeared but both side effects are very managable and I hardly notice them anymore. The numbness is permanent and not a big deal. I now use an electric razor and actually like it better than how I used to shave. Everything usually gets better with time and just becomes the new you. Make peace with your new self and enjoy the gift of life as best you can.


  • wmc
    wmc Member Posts: 1,804
    Neck dissection....Time

    I had neck dissectin both sides level II-V along with being cut ear to ear, the took my larynx at the same time.  Took 48 lymph glands on the right and 38 on the left. It took about three months for the right side to start to get feeling. I could not even feel my ears. Slowly it started to come back starting with the top of the ear then SLOWLY the bottom got some feeling then finily to the center of the neck. Those muscles are still a little two years later. Now the feeling in the Left side, will never come back. I can't feel the middle of my ear to the center of my neck. The muscles are very tight and I will be on muscle relaxers the rest of my life just so I can turn it like I did so I can turn to drive. Makes it strange to shave as you can get cut and never feel it. Also where it meets is where my larnyx was and when touched will cause a gag refluxas well. The exersizes should help some but it won't happen over night.  Might take months and if you stop, it might get tight again. You have to remember thet cut everything in there and all around your corrited artery and main nerver. Muscels relaxers help loosen it up so the exersizes can help more. The feeling is like when your hand falles asleep and you start to get feelings back you get that numb feeling. That is a good sign, but can be very hard to get used to until you get more back. As always, keep letting your doctor know all that is going on so he is just aware of everything.