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Motor nerves of the head and neck that are susceptible to damage during dermatological surgery

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Thomas Oliphant, Dr James Langtry


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As the incidence of non melanoma skin cancer rises, dermatologists will increasingly be called upon to perform excisions in the head and neck region. Damage to the motor nerves of the head and neck represents an important adverse event for patients, and a source of litigation for surgeons. Understanding the anatomy of this region is key to counselling patients about the possibility of motor nerve injury associated with particular skin surgical procedures. We describe the anatomy of the motor nerves of the head and neck that are most vulnerable to injury during dermatological surgery. The consequences of injury are outlined, and the surface anatomy and anatomical landmarks that may be used to identify the relevant danger zones are described.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Brown SM, Oliphant T, Langtry J

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical and Experimental Dermatology

Year: 2014

Volume: 39

Issue: 6

Pages: 677-682

Print publication date: 01/08/2014

Online publication date: 14/07/2014

Acceptance date: 06/02/2014

ISSN (print): 0307-6938

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2230



DOI: 10.1111/ced.12374