Reconstructive Surgery

Neck Dissection Surgery: The removal of lymph nodes

Introduction to Neck Dissection Surgery

Neck dissection surgery is a critical procedure often performed when skin cancers have spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. Lymph nodes, small bean-shaped structures that play a vital role in the body's immune response, are found throughout the body but are most concentrated in the neck, armpits, and groin areas.

During a neck dissection, an incision is made in the neck, typically along a natural skin crease. Mr Butler meticulously identifies and removes the lymph nodes in the targeted area while preserving essential structures, such as blood vessels and nerves, wherever possible. The incision is then closed with sutures or surgical staples.

Key Details of the Procedure

  • Duration: 3 to 4 hours
  • Cost: $27000 to $34000
  • Anaesthetic: General anaesthetic
  • Length of stay: 3 to 4 days

Post-Surgery Care and Downtime

  • Showering: You can shower the wounds 48 hours after surgery.
  • Exercise: Light exercise can be resumed 1 week after surgery. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for 4 weeks post-surgery.
  • Driving: You can drive 1 week after surgery.
  • Work: You can return to desk-based work 1 week after surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions about Neck Dissection Surgery

What is the purpose of neck dissection surgery?

Neck dissection surgery is primarily performed when skin cancers have spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. The procedure involves removing these lymph nodes to prevent further spread of the cancer.

What can I expect during recovery?

After surgery, you may experience some discomfort and swelling in the neck area. These symptoms can be managed with prescribed pain medication. Most patients can resume light activities within a week and return to work within two weeks. However, strenuous activities should be avoided for at least four weeks.

Will there be visible scarring after the surgery?

The incision for neck dissection surgery is typically made along a natural skin crease to minimise visible scarring. Over time, the scar will fade and become less noticeable.

What are the potential risks and complications of neck dissection surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, neck dissection surgery carries potential risks and complications. These can include infection, bleeding, fluid collections, delayed healing, nerve damage, and changes in sensation or movement. Mr Butler will discuss each of the potential risks with you in detail during your consultation.

How long will I need to stay in the hospital after surgery?

The typical hospital stay after neck dissection surgery is 3 to 4 days. This allows for adequate monitoring and management of any immediate post-operative complications.