A method for locating the external ramus of the accessory nerve in the posterior cervical triangle

David Peck, Edward A. Luce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Injury to the external ramus of the accessory nerve during surgery in the posterior triangle of the neck results in a disfiguring and incapacitating paralysis of the trapezius. In order to avoid this, a simple method for locating the ramus was devised. In 17 cadavers the anterior border of the trapezius was palpated and the skin marked at a point 5 cm above its clavicular attachment. A second point, situated over the posterior border of the sternocleidomastoid 6.5 cm below the tip of the mastoid process was similarly marked. A line joining these two points overlies the course of the ramus. As the ramus may lie superficially in this region, the skin incision along this line was followed by blunt dissection of the underlying fascia. The ramus was thus identified at the anterior border of the trapezius 5 cm above its clavicular attachment. This method was successful in all 17 cadavers (34 exposures), even though 3 of these were very obese with short necks. Using this surface marking, injury to the external ramus of the accessory nerve in the posterior triangle can be avoided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Anatomy
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1988

Fingerprint

Accessory Nerve
Superficial Back Muscles
Cadaver
Neck
Skin
Mastoid
Fascia
Wounds and Injuries
Paralysis
Dissection

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Histology

Cite this

A method for locating the external ramus of the accessory nerve in the posterior cervical triangle. / Peck, David; Luce, Edward A.

In: Clinical Anatomy, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1988, p. 53-58.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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