Neck and shoulder function in patients treated for oral malignancies: A 1-year prospective cohort study

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Abstract

Background

Neck and shoulder complaints can be a direct result of a neck dissection.

Methods

Maximal active lateral flexion of the neck, forward flexion and abduction of the shoulder, and self-perceived function were determined in 145 patients treated for oral cancer.

Results

No short-term influence of radiotherapy was found on measured range of motion and self-perceived neck and shoulder function (p > .05). One year after a bilateral neck dissection, patients showed deteriorated lateral flexion of the neck, whereas patients treated with a unilateral modified radical neck dissection still reported pain during neck movements. Maximal forward flexion of the shoulder recovered to the level of healthy controls, but maximal abduction was still reduced in all patients.

Conclusions

Neck dissection, tumor site, and extensive reconstruction are related to deterioration of shoulder function shortly after intervention. Maximal active shoulder abduction was affected most. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2013

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