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Accessory Nerve Damage, are you aware of the facts?

Few people will have heard of the Accessory Nerve. However if they have it may be because it has suffered damage during Surgery. Normally this is an avoidable injury and it can be one that causes significant disability.
 
The Accessory Nerve runs through part of neck into an area below the shoulder and the Trapezius muscle.  It helps to keep the shoulder in place and enables us to raise our arms. So the classic signs of damage are when the shoulder droops, people cannot raise their arm and they find an odd deformity known as a ‘Winged Scapula’. This looks as if there is a big dip behind the shoulder blade. ‘Winged Scapula’ sounds like a strange description but you will know it if you see it.
 
I have now acted for several people who developed quite severe disability as a result of negligent damage to the Accessory Nerve after surgery for lumps in their neck or to biopsy Lymph Nodes. In a couple of cases these procedures were unnecessary anyway. They were done to remove Lipomas - harmless fatty lumps - which may be a little unsightly or just worry people when they are near the surface but may be completely invisible when lying in the deeper tissue layers.
 
Accessory Nerve is well-known as one of the problems which can arise from operating in what is called the posterior triangle. Surgeons should know what to look for and when operating in that area should make sure that they can see the Accessory Nerve and avoid damaging it. Once damaged it is very unlikely that the nerve can be repaired.
 
Working with a number of people who have suffered Accessory Nerve damage and having developed quite a bit of experience on these cases, I am aware of quite how difficult ordinary tasks of daily living can become - carrying children, bringing in the washing, reaching into cupboards. Awards of damages cannot undo the damage but they can assist people to pay for Rehabilitation, good medical care and help at home in doing things which otherwise would be impossible for them.

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