What is the role of orthoses in the treatment of 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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Orthoses (the Akman-Sari orthosis; see the image below) have been used for rehabilitation.

Shoulder syndrome. Shoulder syndrome.

An orthosis provides pain relief and corrects malalignment, promoting appropriate positioning and better functioning of the remaining scapular musculature.

In one study, use of the orthosis has been associated with improvement, in terms of pain and ability to resume daily activities, in shoulder dysfunction after radical neck dissection in which the SAN was resected. In spite of this apparent improvement, the active shoulder abduction improved by only 5-25°; therefore, the improvement must not be mistaken for a return of trapezial function. [44]

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