The accessory nerve (sometimes called the spinal accessory nerve) is not well known but any injury to it can have severe consequences for a patient. This nerve controls our ability to shrug our shoulders and turn our head. Without this nerve life would be very difficult and many day to day tasks would be impossible.
The accessory nerve runs from the brain, down the neck, close to the surface of the skin and runs into the shoulder area where it controls the trapezius muscle. This keep our shoulders up and in place and enable us to lift our arms above our heads. It also controls the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which allows us to turn our heads.
The accessory nerve claim cases that Hodge Jones Allen have undertaken have usually involved minor surgical procedures such as a biopsy being performed in the neck area. More commonly this tends to be a biopsy of a lymph node which is being performed to diagnose the patient’s underlying condition.
On other occasions surgery in the neck area has been performed to remove a harmless fatty lump (sometimes called a lipoma) which has gone wrong.
With appropriate skill and care, injuries to this nerve can and should be avoided. Surgical inexperience or a rushed, poorly planned procedure are often the cause of injury.
Sadly, many of the cases in which we have acted have involved severe injuries to the accessory nerve. This type of injury is very hard to repair so patients who have suffered an injury of this nature must adapt their lives to cope with their restricted arm and neck movements.
There are several ways that spinal accessory nerve damage can be repaired. As it affects multiple areas of the body, a multidisciplinary approach is required, including conservative (or non-surgical) management, physical therapy and surgical repair.
Conservative management options include:
Physical therapy is a key part of rehabilitation, and is essential both for patients who decline or are ineligible for surgery, as well as patients who are to undergo surgical repair of the spinal accessory nerve.
Surgical repair can take several forms, including:
We are acutely aware of how devastating these injuries can be. We have developed close relationships with renowned surgical experts who can quickly advise on the merits of these claims.
Our solicitors know that an accessory nerve injury can make everyday tasks very difficult, and as such we will ensure that the extra help that you need is properly quantified with expert evidence and claim this as part of your compensation package. Accessory nerve injuries can often lead to time off work or reduced promotion prospects and compensation can be claimed for this aspect of your case also.
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