What are the differential diagnoses of spinal accessory nerve (SAN) injury?

Updated: Feb 09, 2018
  • Author: Rohan R Walvekar, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

The differential diagnoses of SAN injury are as follows:

  • Lesions of the long thoracic nerve of Bell: Scapular winging in lesions of the long thoracic nerve is accentuated by forward flexion of the affected upper extremity as opposed to accentuation by abduction in SAN injury. [1, 18]

  • Myofascial pain syndromes of the shoulder girdle region: The absence of significant muscular atrophy and weakness and the absence of scapular winging differentiate this syndrome from SAN injury.

  • Whiplash injury: In whiplash injuries, symptoms are limited to the neck and include neck pain, headache, cervical spine rigidity, and limitation of neck motion. [18]


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