Bull neck and surgery

Patient

Q: Has anyone heard of the term "bull Neck"? 60 yrs ago I was told by a surgeon that before I go into surgery to tell the anaesthetist that I have a bull neck. If I don't tell him or her they could lose me on the table. I am going in for surgery shortly and want to know if I am looking like a fool or if this problem exists. One Dr told me that they must insert an airway at the same time they administer the anaesthetic or my throat will close.  This has already happened once.

Doctor

A:   This phenomenon does exist. A bull neck is a short thick neck more common in obese persons. It makes placement of breathing tube difficult. It is quite easy to identify for medical professionals and there are precautions that can be taken to ensure no harm comes to the patient. Of course, there is no harm in mentioning it to your anesthetist prior to surgery.

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