[Uncommon position of a retropharyngeal impacted fishbone]

Laryngorhinootologie. 2004 Dec;83(12):852-5. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-825679.
[Article in German]


The case of a 34-year-old otherwise healthy woman with retropharyngeal abscess due to a fishbone injury and presenting with neck stiffness and aphagia without visualization of a pharyngeal mucosal lesion is reported. The case illustrates that sore throat with symptoms out of proportion to oropharyngeal findings should prompt a search for pathologies other than simple pharyngotonsillitis. Other typical symptoms of a retropharyngeal abscess are high fever, dysphagia, hot potato voice and, less commonly, dyspnea and sepsis. Retropharyngeal abscess in adults occurs most often as a complication of a spread of infection from a pharyngeal focus, a foreign body injury, an iatrogenic trauma due to tracheal intubation or endoscopy, and blunt or perforating neck trauma. Contrary to children, a retropharyngeal abscess in adults without loco-regional infection or preceding trauma is very rare. This case illustrates how important imaging investigations (CT-scan) are in order to locate foreign bodies and to decide on surgical management. Aetiology, presenting signs, symptoms, methods of diagnosis, treatment and complications of a retropharyngeal abscess are briefly discussed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fishes
  • Foreign Bodies / diagnostic imaging*
  • Foreign Bodies / therapy
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Pharynx* / diagnostic imaging
  • Radiographic Magnification
  • Retropharyngeal Abscess / diagnostic imaging*
  • Retropharyngeal Abscess / therapy
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed