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Neck Block Dissections in India

What is Neck Block Dissections ?

The neck dissection is a surgical procedure for control of neck lymph node metastasis. This can be done for clinically or radiologically evident lymph nodes or as part of curative surgery where risk of occult nodal metastasis is deemed sufficiently high. The aim of the procedure is to remove lymph nodes from the neck into which cancer cells may have migrated. Metastasis of tumours into the lymph nodes of the neck is one of the strongest prognostic indicators for head and neck cancer. The metastases may originate from tumours of the upper aerodigestive tract, including the oral cavity, tongue, nasopharynx, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and larynx, as well as the thyroid, parotid and posterior scalp. Neck nodal metastasis can sometimes also originate from lung cancer or intra-abdominal malignancy. However, neck dissection is rarely performed for such purposes.

Lymph nodes in a particular region are numerous and generally referred to in groups. It is impossible to dissect through all the soft tissue to remove individual lymph nodes. As such the neck dissection is the en-bloc resection of all soft tissue in the region including all the lymph nodes and structures passing through them. In the case of a neck dissection, this entails the resection of everything within the superficial layer of deep cervical fascia (also known as the investing layer of cervical fascia). Where deemed excessively morbid, the structures within are conserved. These include the carotid and in some instances the three structures - IJV, SCM and Accessory Nerve.


The staging of head and neck cancer includes a classification for nodal disease. It is important to note the critical difference in size of nodes with break points at 3 and 6 cm. The staging system for head and neck malignancies considers all malignancies with palpable cervical adenopathy as Stage 3 or Stage 4, reflecting the grim prognostic implications of palpable nodal disease. 2 The most important prognostic indicator in patients with squamous carcinoma of the head and neck remains the status of the cervical lymph nodes. 3

Neck Block

Neck Dissections

  • Radical Neck Dissection (RND) - removal of all ipsilateral cervical lymph node groups from levels I through V, together with SAN, SCM and IJV.
  • Modified Radical Neck Dissection (MRND) - removal of all lymph node groups routinely removed in a RND, but with preservation of one or more nonlymphatic structures (SAN, SCM and IJV).
  • Selective Neck Dissection (SND) (together with the use of parentheses to denote the levels or sublevels removed) - cervical lymphadenectomy with preservation of one or more lymph node groups that are routinely removed in a RND. Thus for oral cavity cancers, SND (I-III) is commonly performed. For oropharyngeal, hypopharyngeal and laryngeal cancers, SND (II-IV) is the procedure of choice.
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