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Neck Dissection

Posts: 44
Joined: Feb 2013

Hello all,

My husband’s 3 month pat scan came positive and both ENT and oncologist suggested Neck Dissection surgery.

I have read about it here but not sure how it's worked and ENT was also talking about removing neck muscles and I am not sure if I am comfortable with that.

Any suggestions and experience would be helpful.




Duggie88's picture
Posts: 703
Joined: Feb 2010

I had a full neck disection at the Hospital at the University of Penn. They cut my muscles and I only had trouble with the left side but after physical therapy gained all the muscle strength back. Why would they have to remove neck muscle?


MarineE5's picture
Posts: 909
Joined: Dec 2005


Hetal may be talking about the removal of the (SCM) Sternocleidomastoid muscle in the radical neck disection, which I had done, right side only some time ago. I did lose some strength on my right side and had to go for physical therapy to get most of it back.

My Best to Everyone Here

fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1217
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi Hetal,

There are several types of neck dissection surgeries. It sounds like they want to do a radical neck dissection. Here is a link to types/classifications http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/neck_dissections.htm

I had a selective neck dissection to remove the cancerous lymph nodes along with 24 additional nodes on the left side of my neck (level 1/2). Although I didn't have any muscle removed, the surgery was intensive and intricate due to the size and invasiveness of the tumors. They had wrapped themselves around the nerves, muscles and blood vessels. The result was nerve trauma/damage on my left side causing mobility issues with my left shoulder and arm. Physical therapy and patience is the key to recovery. The end result will take time to determine but I'm making some progress albeit slowly.

Ask the ENT/Surgeon to explain in more detail what he wants to do. If you or your husband are uncomfortable, seek a 2nd opinion.

Positive thoughts and prayers



Posts: 44
Joined: Feb 2013

Thanks everyone for your suggestions and prayers. Surgery was successfully done yesterday and they remove the muscle. Where they removed muscle in that place look like you dig under the skin, so basically his right side of neck looks skinnier then left side of the neck. My husband is pretty upset about this look but they had to do this since leftover tumor from radiation was around that muscle.




tommyodavey's picture
Posts: 574
Joined: Nov 2011

Glad it went okay.  It's better to have a slimmer neck on one side than to have cancer in there.  He'll get used to it.  What other choice is there?


I had a radical right neck dissection and now after a year and a ½ it looks like I had a neck lift on my right side.  Now the wrinkles on my left side are more noticable.  He also cut the main tendon that sticks out when a person pulls their bottom lip back.  My scar is almost invisible.  No one sees it unless I tip my head back.  My scar I am proud of.  It is a visible sign that I am a survivor.


The only real problem it gives me is that I'm still a bit numb on the right side, and he stretched a nerve that runs down my arm that I need to take some Gabapentin for.  Both are getting better slowly but surely.  A very small price to pay for my life.


He'll get used to it and after awhile he'll forget about it.



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