Which factors increase the difficulty of diagnosing a spinal accessory nerve (SAN) injury?

Updated: Mar 04, 2020
  • Author: Rohan R Walvekar, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Dual or contributing nerve supply from the cervical plexus to the trapezius muscle that results in some retained motor function after SAN injury can thereby make the diagnosis of a SAN injury difficult.

Subjective symptoms that result from trapezial dysfunction secondary to myofascial pain syndromes, contralateral paresthesias, and radiculitis can make diagnosis difficult.

Variations in presentations can also be attributed to the anatomic level of SAN injury, amount of collateral tissue damage, and subjective pain thresholds. [14]

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