Q. Is it normal to feel numb after lymph node biopsy?

Answered by
Dr. Hitesh Kumar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 22, 2017 and last reviewed on: May 06, 2021

Hi doctor,

I recently had an open lymph node biopsy with lymph node extraction. Since the moment I woke up from the general anesthesia, I realize that my trapezius muscle is not functional and my ear is numb. My doctor, who is a qualified ENT specialist, told me that it is unlikely to be an accessory nerve damage and I should just wait for the swelling to go down. My cut is 3 cm long just under my ear.  I am 4 days post op, and my wound is healing nicely, but absolutely no sign of trapezius working. I had an ultrasound of the neck in A and E, and there is no hematoma or fluid present in the wound. I was prescribed to have Neiromidin by the Emergency Room doctor. I have attached my photo for your reference.



Welcome to

  • The trapezius is supplied by accessory nerve, which also supplies sternocleidomastoid muscle. In the picture (attachment removed to protect patient identity), your right trapezius fold is diminished compared to the left.
  • Accessory never injury during surgical procedure may be a possibility for your symptoms. Nerve damage can be neuropraxia (mild), axonotmesis (moderate) or neurotmesis (complete injury).
  • If there is no hematoma or fluid in ultrasound, I can suggest you to get NCV - nerve conduction velocity test for trapezius muscle. If there be some potential recording from right trapezius muscle, then you should do regular physiotherapy for trapezius.
  • But if no potentials are recorded in NCV test, then you may need an exploration of the wound and look at trapezius nerve. If found to be cut, then you may require nerve repairing surgery.

Investigations to be done:

NCV for bilateral accessory nerves.

Regarding follow up:

For further information consult a neurologist online.--->

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