Dr. Shilpi Sharma best head and neck oncologist in Gurgaon. A neck dissection is a surgical procedure performed to remove lymph nodes from the neck for the treatment of cancer, most commonly head and neck cancers. The goal of the surgery is to remove lymph nodes to which cancer has spread, preventing its further progression.
There are different types of neck dissections, and the type performed depends on the extent of the cancer and its location. These include:
Radical neck dissection: This is the most comprehensive type of neck dissection, involving the removal of all lymph nodes on one side of the neck from the jawbone to the collarbone, as well as some additional structures like the sternocleidomastoid muscle, spinal accessory nerve, and the internal jugular vein.
Modified radical neck dissection: This is similar to the radical neck dissection, but it preserves one or more of the additional structures (sternocleidomastoid muscle, spinal accessory nerve, and the internal jugular vein), reducing potential side effects. Selective neck dissection: This type of surgery involves removing only some of the lymph nodes in the neck, typically in early-stage cancers or as a preventive measure in some high-risk cases.
The procedure generally requires a stay in the hospital, and the patient often has a drain in place postoperatively to remove any fluid buildup from the surgical area. Some discomfort, swelling, and numbness can be expected following the surgery.
Rehabilitation post-surgery often involves physical therapy to regain strength and flexibility in the neck and shoulder. The potential complications of neck dissection include nerve injury, which could result in shoulder dysfunction or weakness in the lower face, as well as issues with swallowing or sensation changes in the neck and ear. Long-term effects may also include changes in appearance due to the removal of neck tissue.
Overall, a neck dissection can be a crucial procedure in managing and treating head and neck cancers, especially for cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes. As with any surgery, the potential benefits must be weighed against the risks, and decisions should be made in close consultation with the treating physicians.