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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2001 Nov;110(11):1055-8.

Venous collateral blood flow assessed by Doppler ultrasound after unilateral radical neck dissection.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University Hospital Charité, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.


Removal of the internal jugular vein (IJV) in unilateral radical neck dissection (rND) necessitates redirection of cerebrovenous blood to collateral pathways. If adaptation is insufficient, neurologic sequelae develop that are due to impaired venous drainage and increased intracranial pressure. The authors studied venous hemodynamic effects of unilateral rND using Doppler and duplex ultrasound in 17 patients. Blood flow velocities (BFVs) were recorded from the distal IJV (dIJV) and the vertebral vein (VV) before and 9 to 88 days after surgery. A preoperative compression test of the dIJV was performed to identify the side of dominant drainage. The BFV increased in the contralateral dIJV after right-sided rND (n = 10) by 111% (range, 50% to 320%), and after left-sided rND (n = 7) by 34% (range, 5% to 105%). In the contralateral VV, a rise of BFV by 75% was found. Our results confirm the role of the contralateral dIJV as the predominant collateral pathway. The VVs serve as an important additional major outflow. Doppler ultrasound may help to identify patients at risk of insufficient cerebrovenous drainage after rND.

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