Endoscopic neck dissection in human cadavers

Laryngoscope. 2001 Dec;111(12):2135-9. doi: 10.1097/00005537-200112000-00010.


Objective: To evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of endoscopic neck dissection (END) in human cadavers.

Study design: Experimental self-controlled study.

Methods: END on five human cadavers through three openings: one for the camera, one for the dissecting instrument, and one for a grasping one. The tissue specimens removed were divided into traditional neck groups (I to V). After the completion of END, open neck dissection was performed using standard surgical techniques and the remaining tissue within each neck group was retrieved. The important neck structures (carotid artery, internal jugular vein, cranial nerves X, XI, and XII, phrenic nerve) were evaluated for lesions. A pathologist evaluated each specimen, without knowing its exact origin in terms of neck group or side, and type of surgical technique used. For each specimen, the number of retrieved lymph nodes and their anatomic integrity was analyzed.

Results: Ten neck dissections were performed on 5 cadavers, without any major difficulty. An injury of the internal jugular vein occurred twice and once the phrenic nerve was cut. Little tissue was usually left for open surgical dissection. The average number of retrieved lymph nodes by endoscopy was 4.9 +/- 2.7 (mean +/- standard deviation). Completion open neck dissection retrieved an additional 0.5 +/- 0.5 lymph nodes. Efficacy of END was 92 +/- 10%. The majority of retrieved lymph nodes were intact but exhibited important postmortem autolysis artifacts.

Conclusions: Endoscopic neck dissection is possible in human cadavers and is free of lesions to major structures. The majority of neck lymph nodes can be removed endoscopically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Endoscopes*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection / instrumentation*
  • Surgical Instruments