Head and neck lesions composed of spindle cells evoke a differential diagnosis which includes a host of benign and malignant entities. One of the less common spindle cell lesions in this region is the inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT). Although IMTs were originally regarded as "pseudotumors", they are now recognized to be true neoplasms. Local recurrence, and, rarely, malignant change have been reported. Currently, the definitive means of diagnosing IMTs is the identification of a rearrangement of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene (at chromosome 2p23) by fluorescence in situ hybridization. The histopathologic differential diagnosis includes infectious processes, other fibro-inflammatory lesions, lymphoma, the inflammatory variant of malignant fibrous histiocytoma, and sarcomatoid (spindle cell) carcinoma. Complete surgical excision is the treatment of choice.