EUROPEAN ARCHIVES OF OTO-RHINO-LARYNGOLOGY, cilt.263, ss.477-480, 2006 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)
Despite recent advances using more conservative approaches, standard classical radical neck dissection is still one of the most frequently performed procedures in head and neck cancer patients who have advanced metastatic neck disease. The trapezius muscle paralysis following division of the spinal accessory nerve results in severe pain and cosmetic disturbance related to malalignment of the shoulder joint. The objective of this study is to report our results with a newly developed orthosis to prevent and correct shoulder dysfunction following standard radical neck dissection. Thirty-four patients who underwent standard radical neck dissection as a part of their surgical treatment from 1997-2002 were rehabilitated by the shoulder orthosis. Beginning 2 weeks after surgery, the patients were allowed to use their orthosis. By using a standard questionnaire, the pain and activity scores were recorded at the 1st, 3rd, 6th and 12th months postoperatively. Six patients were excluded from the study, of whom two succumbed to their disease and four discontinued the use of the orthosis. Of 28 patients included in the study, 20 (72%) were completely pain free within 3 months following the surgery. Four patients (14%) noted their pain level as tolerable, and four patients (14%) reported no considerable gain in the pain threshold and/or physical activity levels. Despite the fact that the active abduction range increased only 5 to 20 degrees, the relief of pain and improved malalignment of the scapula and consequently clavicle and humerus led to functional gains, which increased the patients' endurance. At the end of the study, 23 patients (82%) were able to return to their previous jobs or activity levels. Current preliminary reports suggest that this orthosis can be recommended to prevent significant disability in patients with trapezius palsy due to ablative cancer surgery or other reasons.