Nontraumatic Head and Neck Emergencies

Radiographics. 2019 Oct;39(6):1808-1823. doi: 10.1148/rg.2019190159.


Head and neck imaging is an intimidating subject for many radiologists because of the complex anatomy and potentially serious consequences of delayed or improper diagnosis of the diverse abnormalities involving this region. The purpose of this article is to help radiologists to understand the intricate anatomy of the head and neck and to review the imaging appearances of a variety of nontraumatic head and neck conditions that bring patients to the emergency department, including acute infectious and inflammatory diseases and acute complications of head and neck neoplasms. These conditions are presented in five sections on the basis of their primary location of involvement: the oral cavity and pharynx, neck, sinonasal tract, orbits, and ears. Important anatomic landmarks are reviewed briefly in each related section.Online supplemental material is available for this article.©RSNA, 2019.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Child
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Head / diagnostic imaging*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck / anatomy & histology
  • Neck / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Young Adult