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August 1966

Carotid Artery Protection With Levator Scapulae Muscle

Author Affiliations

From the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1966;84(2):198-200. doi:10.1001/archotol.1966.00760030200015

PROTECTION of the carotid artery following radical neck dissection is a major concern of the head and neck surgeon, especially in those patients in whom impaired wound healing is anticipated. These include debilitated patients, those with prior irradiation, and those with preoperative infection or orocutaneous fistula. The various methods currently employed for covering the carotid artery, with the advantages and disadvantages of each, have been reviewed by Conley.1 Each is applicable in certain situations, depending on the mobility of the artery and the portion one desires to protect. However, no one method has proven satisfactory in all situations.

Transposition of the levator scapulae muscle was first advocated by Staley in 1961.2 A modification of this method was demonstrated by Schweitzer in 19623 where the muscle was pedicled superiorly and sutured over the carotid bulb. Pedicles from the scalene muscles could then be used to cover the remainder

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