The neck contains many important
structures, including the larynx, thyroid
and parathyroid glands (embedded in
the back of the thyroid), many lymph
nodes, and carotid arteries. The upper
seven vertebrae of the spine are in the
neck; a complex system of muscles
is connected to these vertebrae, the
clavicles, the upper ribs, and the lower
jaw. Contraction ofthese muscles
allows the head to turn and the jaw
to open and close.
S a liv a r y
g l a n d
C a r o t id
a r t e r y
T r a c h e a
T h y r o id g l a n d
C la v ic le
Muscles of the
side of the neck
Muscles on the side (here,
the left side) and back of
the neck support and
move the head.
n e b u liz e r
An aerosol device used to administer
drugs, such as
b r o n c h o d i l a t o r s ,
in the emergency treatment of
a s t h m a
Usually an electric pump sends a stream
of air or oxygen across a chamber that
contains the drug.This stream of air dis-
perses the drug into a fine mist, which
is then conveyed to the face mask and
inhaled by the user.
n e c k
The part of the body that supports the
head and serves as a passageway bet-
ween the head (and brain) and the rest
of the body. The neck contains many
s p i n a l
c o r d
(w hich carries nerve impulses to and
from the brain); the
t r a c h e a
l a r y n x
(voice-box); the
o e s o p h a g u s
t h y r o i d
p a r a t h y r o i d
g l a n d s ; l y m p h n o d e s ;
and several major
blood vessels. Seven spinal vertebrae are
located in the neck; they are surrounded
by a complex system of muscles.
T o r t i c o l l i s
(w ry neck), in w hich the head
is twisted to one side, may result from
injury to a neck muscle or from skin
c o n t r a c t u r e
after burns or
other injuries.
F r a c t u r e s
d i s l o c a t i o n s
of vertebrae in the neck, as well as
w h i p l a s h i n j u r y ,
can cause injury to the
spinal cord, causing paralysis or even
death (see
s p i n a l i n j u r y ) .
Degeneration of the joints between
the neck vertebrae may occur as a result
c e r v i c a l o s t e o a r t h r i t i s ,
resulting in neck
pain, stiffness, and sometimes tingling
and weakness in the arm and hand.
Similar symptoms may also be caused
by a
d i s c p r o l a p s e .
a n k y l o s i n g s p o n d y -
l i t i s ,
fusion of the vertebrae may result
in permanent neck rigidity.
C e r v i c a l r i b
is a rare congenital defect
in w hich there is a small extra rib in the
neck. This condition often causes no
symptoms until middle age, when it
may result in pain, numbness, and a
pins-and-needles sensation in the fore-
arm and hand.
Neck pain of unknown origin is very
common. However, as long as there are
no neurological symptoms (such as loss
of sensation or a decrease in muscle
power), the condition is unlikely to be
serious and usually disappears over the
course of a few weeks. However, any
condition causing a large swelling in
the neck (such as enlargement of the
breathing or swallowing.
n e c k d is s e c tio n , ra d ic a l
A surgical procedure for the removal of
l y m p h n o d e s
in the neck. The
operation is often part of the treatment
for cancer of the tongue, the tonsils, or
other structures in the mouth and throat.
Under general anaesthetic (see
a n a e s -
t h e s i a , g e n e r a l ) ,
a flap of skin on the
affected side of the neck is raised to
expose the
muscle. The muscle is cut just above the
clavicle (collarbone) and lifted up. All
the components of the lymphatic system
in the neck (the lymph vessels as well as
the lymph nodes) are then removed,
together with the internal jugular vein,
lower salivary
surrounding tissue.
n e c k rig id ity
Marked stiffness of the neck caused by
s p a s m
of the muscles in the neck and
spine. Neck rigidity is an important
clinical sign of
m e n i n g i t i s
tion of the membranes that envelop the
brain and spinal cord). Severe neck
rigidity may cause the head to arch
backwards, especially in babies.
n e c ro b io s is lip o id ic a
A skin condition, usually associated with
d i a b e t e s
m e l l i t u s ,
w hich
patches with yellowish centres develop,
most commonly on the shins. The skin
in the centre of the patches becomes
thin and may ulcerate.
n e c ro ly s is , to x ic e p id e rm a l
A severe, blistering rash in w hich the
surface layers of the skin peel off, expos-
ing large areas of red, raw skin. The
condition carries a risk of widespread in-
fection and loss of body fluids and salts.
The most common cause of toxic epi-
dermal necrolysis is an adverse reaction
a drug,
particularly a
b a r b i t u r a t e
s u l p h o n a m i d e ,
or penicillin.The condition
usually clears up when the causative
drug is discontinued. Intravenous fluid
replacement is sometimes necessary.
In newborn
may be due to a
s t a p h y l o c o c c a l i n f e c t i o n
and is called scalded skin syndrome.
Treatment is w ith
a n t i b i o t i c d r u g s
fluid replacement.
n e c ro p h ilia
w hich
orgasm is achieved by means of sexual
acts with dead bodies.
n e c ro p s y
A little-used medical term for an
a u t o p s y
(postmortem examination of a body).
n e c ro s is
The death of tissue cells. Necrosis can
occur as a result of
i s c h a e m i a
quate blood supply), w hich may lead to
g a n g r e n e
(tissue death); infection; or
damage by extreme heat or cold, nox-
ious chemicals, or excessive exposure to
X-rays or other forms of
r a d i a t i o n .
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