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Images in Neurology
October 2000

Retropharyngeal Abscess

Arch Neurol. 2000;57(10):1521. doi:10.1001/archneur.57.10.1521

A 16-YEAR-OLD boy complained of progressively worsening weakness of his legs and neck pain aggravated by movement of 1 month's duration. This was followed by the development of weakness in his arms. There were no sphincter disturbances or constitutional symptoms. He had nothing of note in his or his family's medical history. On examination he was found to have spastic quadriparesis with an inverted supinator but no sensory level. Neck movements were restricted. On examination of his throat there was a bulge in the posterior pharyngeal wall. No other abnormalities were found in the general examination or examination of his cardiovascular and respiratory systems and abdomen. A plain x-ray film of his cervical spine showed no abnormalities. A cervical myelogram showed an extradural compression from C1 through C7 (Figure 1). A computed tomographic scan of this region showed a fluid-filled sac in the prevertebral region with extension into the neural canal (Figure 2).