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Clinical Note
December 15, 2008

Cervical Spine Osteomyelitis Presenting as a Pharyngeal Mass

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Otolaryngology−Head and Neck Surgery, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008;134(12):1334-1337. doi:10.1001/archotol.134.12.1334

Cervical osteomyelitis is a rare condition that is difficult to diagnose due to its insidious clinical course and vague symptoms. The anatomy of the cervical spine usually prevents the spread of the infectious and inflammatory process anteriorly into the pharyngeal soft tissues. We describe a patient with cervical spine osteomyelitis that presented as an ulcerative lesion of the nasopharynx and oropharynx, mimicking a neoplasm.

A 52-year-old woman presented to our outpatient clinic with left-sided neck pain and swelling that had progressively worsened during the past 2 years. She had experienced a 5.4-kg weight loss, dysphagia, and odynophagia during the same period. She also had fevers, chills, and night sweats, in addition to left-sided otalgia and occasional paresthesias of both hands. She had a 20–pack-year history of tobacco use and had a remote history of cocaine use. She denied intravenous drug use.

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