Neck dissection is a major surgery/procedure done to remove any cancer present in the areas of lymph nodes. There are three types of neck dissection: radical neck dissection, selective neck dissection, and modified neck dissection. Neck dissection is done to ensure the cancerous cells are not traveling or migrating to the other side of the neck. This article will look at what neck dissection is, how the procedure of neck dissection is done, and how recovery takes place after the neck dissection procedure.
Anterior neck dissection, central compartment neck dissection, selective neck dissection, modified radical neck dissection, Radical neck dissection
How is it Performed → Open/Robotic
The procedure for neck dissection differs for each type. In Radical neck dissection, the tissues from the neck side right from the jawbone to near the collarbone are removed and eliminated. In the modified neck dissection type, mostly all lymph nodes are taken off. In selective neck dissection, the lymph nodes are removed depending on how far cancer has passed. For instance, if cancer has not spread too far or not yet started spreading, very few lymph nodes or specific lymph nodes are removed. Depending upon the complications, the procedure will be done.
Before the procedure of neck dissection, specific steps need to be done or taken care of:
- Any blood clotting medications you are already taking might need to be stopped with the doctor's advice.
- On the procedure day, the patient will be advised not to eat or drink anything for a few hours, just in case.
- The patient will be advised to take a proper diet with fruits, soft foods, etc.
- Once the surgery is done, the patient might need to stay at the hospital for a week.
- The patient will be suggested to take a glucose test before the neck dissection procedure.
The top region of the patient's bed will need to be adjusted according to the patient's comfort. A tube will be attached to the vein for intake of any fluids, and a regular diet will begin after 24 hours of neck dissection surgery. The doctors will suggest antibiotics to avoid any infections. The patient can leave the hospital in a week after the surgery is done. Once fully recovered, the patient will be discharged after looking at the recent reports.
There might be certain common complications after the surgery is done:
- Skin or ear numbness: During the recovery phase of neck dissection, skin or ear numbness might happen to the patient.
- Neck movement will be limited: Since the neck is a tough place and just operated, the movement in the neck region must not be sudden or heavy.
- Drooping: Facial drooping can be noticed after the neck dissection procedure.
- Pain: The patient might feel or experience problems or pain while lifting arms and shoulder.
- Nerves disturbance: After the procedure, the person might feel that the cheek nerves, tongue nerves are numb.
After any procedure or surgery, recovery is the most critical phase. Following the recommended process can significantly boost the patient's recovery. Recovery of the neck dissection can progress well if the patient takes a proper diet and proper exercise recommended by the doctor. Though the initial stage of recovery can be a little less than normal, day by day, improvement will be seen in the patient. Patients should follow every instruction for a speedy and healthy recovery throughout this period.