Aberrant retropharyngeal (submucosal) internal carotid artery: an under-recognized, clinically significant variant

Surg Radiol Anat. 2013 Jul;35(5):449-50. doi: 10.1007/s00276-012-1047-3. Epub 2012 Dec 2.


We present a case of a 71-year-old woman who was incidentally found to have aberrant retropharyngeal internal carotid artery, lying very close to the pharyngeal mucosa, on imaging. Radiologists, otolaryngologists and anaesthetists should be aware of this clinically significant variant which can result in life-threatening bleeding during procedures in the oral cavity or oropharynx.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anatomic Variation*
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Oropharynx / anatomy & histology