How is radical neck dissection defined?

Updated: Aug 19, 2020
  • Author: Ron Mitzner, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Originally described by Crile in 1906, this procedure is an en bloc clearance of all fibrofatty tissue from one side of the neck, including the lymph nodes from levels I-V and lymph nodes that surround the tail of the parotid gland, the spinal accessory nerve, the internal jugular vein, and the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Radical neck dissection does not include the removal of the postauricular, suboccipital, perifacial, buccinator, retropharyngeal, or central compartment nodes. Previously used for neck disease of any stage, from microscopic to bulky nodal disease, this procedure is now limited to patients with advanced neck disease, recurrent disease after chemoradiation, or gross extracapsular spread to the spinal accessory nerve, sternomastoid muscle, and the internal jugular vein.

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