A member asked:

Can damage to the 11th cranial nerve cause sustained muscle contraction of the trapezius? if so, how can it be treated and what is most effective?

15 doctors weighed in across 2 answers
Dr. Adam Lewis answered

Specializes in Neurosurgery

Damage to the spinal accessory nerve (cranial nerve 11) will cause atrophy and fasciculations and not sustained muscle contraction of the sternocleidomastoid and the trapezius muscles. The treatment consists of an interposition nerve graft that takes 3-12 months to regenerate. If this is not successful, then muscle and tendon transfers are used to stabilize and reduce pain in the scapula.

Answered Nov 28, 2017


Dr. Eric Weisman answered

Specializes in Neurology

Isolated CN injury is rare. Weakness of head turn to resistance or shoulder shrug weakness is seen. Spasm is usually not due to accessory nerve lesion.

Answered Oct 3, 2016



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