Reconstruction of the spinal accessory nerve with autograft or neurotube? Two case reports

I. Ducic, C. T. Maloney, A. Lee Dellon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Injury to the spinal accessory nerve is most commonly iatrogenic, but can be related to cervical trauma or resection of tumor. Of the two most recent publications related to injury of the spinal accessory nerve, one describes transfer of the levator scapulae muscle to restore shoulder function, while the other reports on the results of six surgical repairs, three of which used a sural nerve graft to reconstruct a short neural defect. The present report describes the results obtained in two patients when an iatrogenic injury to the XIth nerve was reconstructed at 3 months after the loss of shoulder function. Denervation of the XIth nerve was confirmed by a first EMG at 6 weeks, and a second one at 12 weeks. At surgery, each XIth nerve was found to have an in-continuity neuroma, most probably related to electrocoagulation. Intraoperative electrical stimulation did not pass the region of nerve injury. In the first patient, the XIth nerve was reconstructed with an autograft from the greater auricular nerve. In the second patient, the XIth nerve was reconstructed with a bioabsorbable conduit, the Neurotube™. The patient with the Neurotube™ reconstruction reached M5 trapezius function by 3 months after surgery, and had no nerve graft donor-site morbidity, while the patient with the autograft reached M4 function by 6 months after reconstruction, and has persistent numbness of the ear lobe. This is the first reported case of a cranial motor nerve being reconstructed with a bioabsorbable conduit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-33
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of reconstructive microsurgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Bioabsorbable conduit
  • Spinal accessory nerve reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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