Posterior cricoid region fluoroscopic findings: the posterior cricoid plication

Dysphagia. 2011 Sep;26(3):272-6. doi: 10.1007/s00455-010-9304-2. Epub 2010 Sep 5.


The region posterior to the cricoid cartilage is challenging to assess fluoroscopically. The purpose of this investigation is to critically evaluate the posterior cricoid (PC) region on fluoroscopy and describe patterns of common findings. This was a case control study. All fluoroscopic swallowing studies performed between June 16, 2009, and February 9, 2010, were reviewed for features seen in the PC region. These findings were categorized into distinct patterns and compared to fluoroscopic studies performed in a cohort of normal volunteers. Two hundred patient studies and 149 healthy volunteer studies were reviewed. The mean age of the referred patient cohort and the volunteer cohort was 57 years (±19) and 61 years (±16), respectively (p > 0.05). The patient cohort was 53% male and the control cohort was 56% female (p > 0.05). Four groups were identified. Pharyngoesophageal webs were seen in 7% (10/149) of controls and 14% (28/200) of patients (p = 0.03). A PC arch impression was seen in 16% of patients (32/200) and controls (24/149) (p = 1). A PC plication was demonstrated in 23% (34/149) of controls and 30% (60/200) of patients (p = 0.13). No distinctive PC region findings were seen in 54% (81/149) of controls and 42% (84/200) of referred patients (p = 0.02). Four patients (2%) had both a web and a PC plication. Four categories of PC region findings were identified (unremarkable PC region, web, PC arch impression, and PC plication). Both patients referred for swallowing studies and healthy volunteers demonstrated esophageal webs, PC arch impressions, and PC plications. Only webs were more common in patients than in control subjects (p = 0.03). The PC impression and PC plication are likely to represent normal variants that may be identified on fluoroscopic swallow studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cricoid Cartilage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cricoid Cartilage / physiology
  • Cricoid Cartilage / physiopathology
  • Deglutition Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Deglutition*
  • Esophagus / diagnostic imaging*
  • Esophagus / physiology
  • Esophagus / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged