Many cases of head and neck cancer metastasize, or spread, through the neck or cervical lymph nodes. While these metastasized cells are sometimes large enough to be detected through imaging exams, they are often microscopic and therefore undetectable through traditional modalities. Neck dissection is a surgical procedure performed to remove the lymph nodes that are either confirmed or suspected to contain cancerous cells. There are several different types of neck dissection procedures. The best type for each patient will be determined after a thorough evaluation of your condition by an experienced doctor.
A neck dissection is a surgery to remove lymph nodes from the neck. The lymph nodes in the neck are called cervical lymph nodes. This surgery is also called a cervical lymph node dissection or a cervical lymphadenectomy.
The lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system helps fight infections and is made up of lymph vessels, lymph fluid, lymph nodes, bone marrow and the lymphatic organs (thymus, adenoid, tonsil and spleen).
Lymph vessels are thin tubes similar to blood vessels. They collect and move lymph fluid away from tissues into the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped organs of lymphatic tissue. The lymph fluid can carry cancer cells from where the cancer started into the lymph nodes. With head and neck cancers, the lymph fluid can sometimes carry cancer cells into the cervical lymph nodes.
In the early stages, you usually cannot feel the cancer in the lymph nodes. In more advanced stages of cancer, you may feel a lump in the neck as the lymph nodes in the neck get bigger.
For more information about Neck Dissection please call to schedule a consultation with one of our ENT physicians. 310-477-5558 or complete the form below.