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October 13, 1956


JAMA. 1956;162(7):645. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.72970240009008d

Attention has frequently been drawn to the danger that exists of producing damage to peripheral nerves in the unconscious patient by stretching or by pressure.1 Paralysis caused in this way has been reported involving the brachial plexus, the radial nerve, the ulnar nerve, and the superficial peroneal nerve. While a total of six cases of involvement of the facial nerve has been noted in Russia and in Germany,2 the American and British literature appears to be devoid of reference to such a condition. For this reason it is felt that the following cases are of interest.

Report of Cases 

Case 1.—  A 54-year-old woman was undergoing cholecystectomy; she was moderately obese and her neck was short. During the induction of nitrous oxide—oxygen—ether anesthesia, upper respiratory obstruction developed, presumably as the result of the tongue's falling back against the posterior pharyngeal wall. This was only partly corrected by insertion