Shoulder pain and disability in daily life, following supraomohyoid neck dissection: a pilot study

J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2003 Jun;31(3):183-6. doi: 10.1016/s1010-5182(03)00030-1.


Introduction: The purpose of this pilot study was to assess shoulder morbidity; i.e. pain and disability in daily activities, at least 1 year after unilateral or bilateral supraomohyoid neck dissection.

Patients and methods: 52 patients having been subjected to a supraomohyoid neck dissection completed a questionnaire assessing pain and daily activities.

Results: 14 (28%) patients complained of ipsilateral shoulder pain following supraomohyoid neck dissection. The disability from shoulder complaints as perceived during daily life was minor. The pain and disability experienced during daily activities led to dependency upon other people in two patients. This dependency only existed during heavy household activities.

Conclusion: Despite the fact that this type of neck dissection was developed to reduce shoulder morbidity, 28% of the patients experienced shoulder pain following supraomohyoid neck dissection. The degree of disability due to shoulder complaints, however, was minor.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck Dissection / adverse effects*
  • Neck Muscles / surgery
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires