Surgical Exposure of the Left Vagus Nerve in the Neck
A small horizontal incision is made in a natural crease of the neck, at the level of the cricoid cartilage. The left sternocleidomastoid muscle is retracted laterally, and the carotid sheath is opened. The left vagus nerve is exposed as it courses between the common carotid artery and the internal jugular vein. In this picture a self-retaining retractor was used to spread the edges of the incision. A yellow plastic loop was placed around the vagus nerve for easier identification and retraction.