print off this clinical explanation and take it to a surgeon familiar with carotid artery surgery... then come back and tell me what's wrong with it...
Peripheral neuropathy is a general term referring to disorders of peripheral nerves. The peripheral nervous system is made up of the nerves that branch out of the spinal cord to all parts of the body. The Vagus nerve is the major nerve next to the spinal cord itself. The term “vagus” is latin for (“wandering”), which the nerve does throughout the body.
It is certainly possible to injure a nerve during surgery, as well as from a blunt force impact trauma specifically targeted to the area where compression would cause the same effect or damage. The vagus nerve exits the brainstem through the jugular foramen of the skull and follows the carotid artery down to the esophagus where it courses along the esophagus through the diaphragm. The vast majority of inadvertent surgical injuries to the vagus nerve occur as the result of neck surgery, in particular carotid artery surgery or thyroid surgery.
Typically, injury to the vagus nerve only results in hoarseness if it is not severely damaged, however it also continues from the neck to the stomach, intestines, heart, bladder, and lower intestinal tract. It originates, however, by exiting the brain where it is attached at the medulla oblongata, a part of the brain stem where epileptic seizures occur.
While the vagus nerve is not normally a concern for illness, injury to this particular nerve (also known as the Tenth Crainial Nerve) can have devastating long term effects. The vagus nerve supplies nerve fibers to the throat and larynx, trachea, windpipe, lungs, heart, esophagus, most of the intestinal track, and has significant effects on blood pressure, heart rhythm, and a host of other spasmodic problems in the body. Long term effects of damage can range “all over the map”, causing illness, dissipation, and death.
Clinical studies of the vagus nerve report adverse effects that are statistically significant. The are:
Ataxia (loss of the ability to coordinate muscular movements)
Dyspenia (difficulty breathing, shortness of breath)
Dysphagia (trouble swallowing and speaking)
Hypesthesia (impaired sense of touch)
Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
Laryngismus (throat, larynx spasms, loss of “gag” reflex)
Paresthesia (prickling of the skin)
Pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx, throat)
Voice alteration (hoarseness)
Heart ventricular fibrillation and stress damage to the heart
The most common problem caused from vagus nerve damage, is gastroparesis, when the nerves to the stomach stop functioning properly and food does not move through the digestive tract. The vagus nerve controls the muscles of the stomach and intestines, and when not functioning properly, the movement of food through the system is slowed or stopped, often causing bowel restrictions.
The vagus and sympathetic nerves originate in the brain in the cardiovascular control centre. When a person is resting, the vagus nerve is active and sends “slow down” messages to the heart. When you become active or stressed, the sympathetic nerves send “speed up” messages to the heart by releasing adrenaline, which makes the heart beat faster and work harder. Disruption of the vagus nerve and sympathetic nerves can cause a disruption in the supply of adrenaline causing abnormal heartbeats, known as ventricular fibrillation. Prolonged activity of this type causes stress damage to the heart. The vagus nerve protects the heart from too much adrenaline. Damaged, the heart is subject to an oversupply of adrenaline and ensuing heart attack.
Damage to the vagus nerve can cause pain and problems all over the body. Radiated pain in the sternum, all over the chest, and down the back, bladder control problems, and choking problems from loss of the gag reflex. Current medical practice is to attempt to treat some epileptic problems with VNS Therapy systems, but they are only used on the left side of the vagus nerve below where the superior and inferior cardiac branches separate from the vagus nerve, and only by physicians trained in the surgical techniques of VNS systems and the vagus nerve anatomy. Mistakes in this surgery can cause any of the above listed problems of clinical significance.