How is shoulder function evaluated in spinal accessory nerve (SAN) injury?

Updated: Dec 08, 2020
  • Author: Rohan R Walvekar, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Clinical evaluation of shoulder function includes the following:

  • ROM assessment by goniometry to evaluate flexion and abduction of the shoulder joint
  • Manual measure of muscle strength in the motions of elevation, flexion, and abduction [4]

The constant shoulder scale is as follows:

  • This weighted test takes 10 minutes to perform and combines patient symptom scores (35%) and objective measures of active shoulder function (65%) and is a validated clinical assessment with established accuracy across many diseases that affect the shoulder.

  • Scores range from 0-100, with higher scores indicating better shoulder function. [41]

The disease-specific quality-of-life (QOL) questionnaires are sensitive tools to evaluate shoulder function. Some more common questionnaires that have been validated for shoulder specific evaluations include the following:

  • The University of Washington QOL scale – shoulder domain

  • The neck dissection impairment index

  • The shoulder disability questionnaire (SDQ) [42]

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