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Retropharyngeal Space Edema
Bronwyn E. Hamilton, MD
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KEY FACTS

  • Terminology

    • Imaging

      • Top Differential Diagnoses

        • Pathology

          • Clinical Issues

            • Diagnostic Checklist

              TERMINOLOGY

              • Abbreviations

                • Retropharyngeal space (RPS)
              • Synonyms

                • Retropharyngeal effusion, benign retropharyngeal fluid
              • Definitions

                • Accumulation of sterile fluid, effacing RPS fat

              IMAGING

              • General Features

                • Radiographic Findings

                  • CT Findings

                    • MR Findings

                      • Imaging Recommendations

                        DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

                          PATHOLOGY

                          • General Features

                            • Microscopic Features

                              CLINICAL ISSUES

                              • Presentation

                                • Demographics

                                  • Natural History & Prognosis

                                    • Treatment

                                      DIAGNOSTIC CHECKLIST

                                      • Consider

                                        • Image Interpretation Pearls

                                          • Reporting Tips

                                            Selected References

                                            1. Al-Natour MS et al: Superior vena cava syndrome with retropharyngeal edema as a complication of ventriculoatrial shunt. Clin Case Rep. 3(10):777-80, 2015
                                            2. Nomura O et al: Comparison of patients with Kawasaki disease with retropharyngeal edema and patients with retropharyngeal abscess. Eur J Pediatr. 173(3):381-6, 2014
                                            3. Puhakka L et al: Retropharyngeal involvement in Kawasaki disease--a report of four patients with retropharyngeal edema verified by magnetic resonance imaging. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 78(10):1774-8, 2014
                                            4. Katsumata N et al: Characteristics of cervical computed tomography findings in kawasaki disease: a single-center experience. J Comput Assist Tomogr. 37(5):681-5, 2013
                                            5. Nurata H et al: Retropharyngeal hematoma secondary to whiplash injury in childhood: a case report. Turk Neurosurg. 22(4):521-3, 2012
                                            6. Paik NC et al: Tendinitis of longus colli: computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and clinical spectra of 9 cases. J Comput Assist Tomogr. 36(6):755-61, 2012
                                            7. Vollmann R et al: Pathways in the diagnosis of prevertebral tendinitis. Eur J Radiol. 81(1):114-7, 2012
                                            8. Hoang JK et al: Multiplanar CT and MRI of collections in the retropharyngeal space: is it an abscess? AJR Am J Roentgenol. 196(4):W426-32, 2011
                                            9. Jordan MT et al: Esophageal foreign body sensation: a rare presentation of angioedema. J Emerg Med. 39(2):174-7, 2010
                                            10. Langley EW et al: Retropharyngeal edema: an unusual manifestation of Kawasaki disease. J Emerg Med. 39(2):181-5, 2010
                                            11. Rizk NN et al: Case report: mediastinal hematoma secondary to hypertension, presenting as a retropharyngeal space abscess. Laryngoscope. 120 Suppl 4:S179, 2010
                                            12. Ellika SK et al: Acute calcific tendinitis of the longus colli: an imaging diagnosis. Dentomaxillofac Radiol. 37(2):121-4, 2008
                                            13. Spennato P et al: Retropharyngeal cerebrospinal fluid collection as a cause of postoperative dysphagia after anterior cervical discectomy. Surg Neurol. 67(5):499-503; discussion 503, 2007
                                            14. Gelineck J et al: Retropharyngeal tendinitis: radiographic and magnetic resonance imaging findings. Acta Radiol. 47(8):806-9, 2006
                                            15. Anagnostara A et al: Traumatic retropharyngeal hematoma and prevertebral edema induced by whiplash injury. Emerg Radiol. 11(3):145-9, 2005
                                            16. Kurihara N et al: Edema in the retropharyngeal space associated with head and neck tumors: CT imaging characteristics. Neuroradiology. 47(8):609-15, 2005
                                            17. Vural C et al: Accuracy of computerized tomography in deep neck infections in the pediatric population. Am J Otolaryngol. 24(3):143-8, 2003
                                            18. Mihmanli I et al: Inflammation of vertebral bone associated with acute calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscle. Neuroradiology. 43(12):1098-101, 2001
                                            19. Muñoz A et al: Acute neck infections: prospective comparison between CT and MRI in 47 patients. J Comput Assist Tomogr. 25(5):733-41, 2001
                                            20. Chong VF et al: Radiology of the retropharyngeal space. Clin Radiol. 55(10):740-8, 2000
                                            21. Altman KW et al: Angioedema presenting in the retropharyngeal space in an adult. Am J Otolaryngol. 20(2):136-8, 1999
                                            22. Boucher C et al: Retropharyngeal abscesses: a clinical and radiologic correlation. J Otolaryngol. 28(3):134-7, 1999
                                            23. Stone ME et al: Correlation between computed tomography and surgical findings in retropharyngeal inflammatory processes in children. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 49(2):121-5, 1999
                                            24. Eastwood JD et al: Retropharyngeal effusion in acute calcific prevertebral tendinitis: diagnosis with CT and MR imaging. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 19(9):1789-92, 1998
                                            25. De Maeseneer M et al: Calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscle. Head Neck. 19(6):545-8, 1997
                                            26. Plewa MC et al: Benign cervical prevertebral soft tissue swelling in traumatic asphyxia. J Trauma. 38(6):937-40, 1995
                                            27. Poe LB et al: Acute internal jugular vein thrombosis associated with pseudoabscess of the retropharyngeal space. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 16(4 Suppl):892-6, 1995
                                            28. Mukherji SK et al: Radiologic appearance of the irradiated larynx. Part I. Expected changes. Radiology. 193(1):141-8, 1994
                                            29. Ring D et al: Acute calcific retropharyngeal tendinitis. Clinical presentation and pathological characterization. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 76(11):1636-42, 1994
                                            30. Glasier CM et al: CT and ultrasound imaging of retropharyngeal abscesses in children. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 13(4):1191-5, 1992
                                            31. Davis WL et al: The normal and diseased infrahyoid retropharyngeal, danger, and prevertebral spaces. Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 12(3):241-56, 1991
                                            32. Davis WL et al: Retropharyngeal space: evaluation of normal anatomy and diseases with CT and MR imaging. Radiology. 174(1):59-64, 1990
                                            33. Artenian DJ et al: Acute neck pain due to tendonitis of the longus colli: CT and MRI findings. Neuroradiology. 31(2):166-9, 1989
                                            34. Myssiorek D et al: Traumatic retropharyngeal hematoma. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 115(9):1130-2, 1989
                                            35. Sneed WF et al: Retropharyngeal pseudomasses. South Med J. 77(4):528-30, 1984
                                            36. Hayden CK Jr et al: Retropharyngeal edema, airway obstruction, and caval thrombosis. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 138(4):757-8, 1982
                                            37. Weinberg S et al: Retropharyngeal tendinitis. Laryngoscope. 92(2):181-2, 1982
                                            38. Bryan CS et al: Retropharyngeal infection in adults. Arch Intern Med. 134(1):126-30, 1974
                                            Related Anatomy
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                                            Related Differential Diagnoses
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                                            References
                                            Tables

                                            Tables

                                            KEY FACTS

                                            • Terminology

                                              • Imaging

                                                • Top Differential Diagnoses

                                                  • Pathology

                                                    • Clinical Issues

                                                      • Diagnostic Checklist

                                                        TERMINOLOGY

                                                        • Abbreviations

                                                          • Retropharyngeal space (RPS)
                                                        • Synonyms

                                                          • Retropharyngeal effusion, benign retropharyngeal fluid
                                                        • Definitions

                                                          • Accumulation of sterile fluid, effacing RPS fat

                                                        IMAGING

                                                        • General Features

                                                          • Radiographic Findings

                                                            • CT Findings

                                                              • MR Findings

                                                                • Imaging Recommendations

                                                                  DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

                                                                    PATHOLOGY

                                                                    • General Features

                                                                      • Microscopic Features

                                                                        CLINICAL ISSUES

                                                                        • Presentation

                                                                          • Demographics

                                                                            • Natural History & Prognosis

                                                                              • Treatment

                                                                                DIAGNOSTIC CHECKLIST

                                                                                • Consider

                                                                                  • Image Interpretation Pearls

                                                                                    • Reporting Tips

                                                                                      Selected References

                                                                                      1. Al-Natour MS et al: Superior vena cava syndrome with retropharyngeal edema as a complication of ventriculoatrial shunt. Clin Case Rep. 3(10):777-80, 2015
                                                                                      2. Nomura O et al: Comparison of patients with Kawasaki disease with retropharyngeal edema and patients with retropharyngeal abscess. Eur J Pediatr. 173(3):381-6, 2014
                                                                                      3. Puhakka L et al: Retropharyngeal involvement in Kawasaki disease--a report of four patients with retropharyngeal edema verified by magnetic resonance imaging. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 78(10):1774-8, 2014
                                                                                      4. Katsumata N et al: Characteristics of cervical computed tomography findings in kawasaki disease: a single-center experience. J Comput Assist Tomogr. 37(5):681-5, 2013
                                                                                      5. Nurata H et al: Retropharyngeal hematoma secondary to whiplash injury in childhood: a case report. Turk Neurosurg. 22(4):521-3, 2012
                                                                                      6. Paik NC et al: Tendinitis of longus colli: computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and clinical spectra of 9 cases. J Comput Assist Tomogr. 36(6):755-61, 2012
                                                                                      7. Vollmann R et al: Pathways in the diagnosis of prevertebral tendinitis. Eur J Radiol. 81(1):114-7, 2012
                                                                                      8. Hoang JK et al: Multiplanar CT and MRI of collections in the retropharyngeal space: is it an abscess? AJR Am J Roentgenol. 196(4):W426-32, 2011
                                                                                      9. Jordan MT et al: Esophageal foreign body sensation: a rare presentation of angioedema. J Emerg Med. 39(2):174-7, 2010
                                                                                      10. Langley EW et al: Retropharyngeal edema: an unusual manifestation of Kawasaki disease. J Emerg Med. 39(2):181-5, 2010
                                                                                      11. Rizk NN et al: Case report: mediastinal hematoma secondary to hypertension, presenting as a retropharyngeal space abscess. Laryngoscope. 120 Suppl 4:S179, 2010
                                                                                      12. Ellika SK et al: Acute calcific tendinitis of the longus colli: an imaging diagnosis. Dentomaxillofac Radiol. 37(2):121-4, 2008
                                                                                      13. Spennato P et al: Retropharyngeal cerebrospinal fluid collection as a cause of postoperative dysphagia after anterior cervical discectomy. Surg Neurol. 67(5):499-503; discussion 503, 2007
                                                                                      14. Gelineck J et al: Retropharyngeal tendinitis: radiographic and magnetic resonance imaging findings. Acta Radiol. 47(8):806-9, 2006
                                                                                      15. Anagnostara A et al: Traumatic retropharyngeal hematoma and prevertebral edema induced by whiplash injury. Emerg Radiol. 11(3):145-9, 2005
                                                                                      16. Kurihara N et al: Edema in the retropharyngeal space associated with head and neck tumors: CT imaging characteristics. Neuroradiology. 47(8):609-15, 2005
                                                                                      17. Vural C et al: Accuracy of computerized tomography in deep neck infections in the pediatric population. Am J Otolaryngol. 24(3):143-8, 2003
                                                                                      18. Mihmanli I et al: Inflammation of vertebral bone associated with acute calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscle. Neuroradiology. 43(12):1098-101, 2001
                                                                                      19. Muñoz A et al: Acute neck infections: prospective comparison between CT and MRI in 47 patients. J Comput Assist Tomogr. 25(5):733-41, 2001
                                                                                      20. Chong VF et al: Radiology of the retropharyngeal space. Clin Radiol. 55(10):740-8, 2000
                                                                                      21. Altman KW et al: Angioedema presenting in the retropharyngeal space in an adult. Am J Otolaryngol. 20(2):136-8, 1999
                                                                                      22. Boucher C et al: Retropharyngeal abscesses: a clinical and radiologic correlation. J Otolaryngol. 28(3):134-7, 1999
                                                                                      23. Stone ME et al: Correlation between computed tomography and surgical findings in retropharyngeal inflammatory processes in children. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 49(2):121-5, 1999
                                                                                      24. Eastwood JD et al: Retropharyngeal effusion in acute calcific prevertebral tendinitis: diagnosis with CT and MR imaging. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 19(9):1789-92, 1998
                                                                                      25. De Maeseneer M et al: Calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscle. Head Neck. 19(6):545-8, 1997
                                                                                      26. Plewa MC et al: Benign cervical prevertebral soft tissue swelling in traumatic asphyxia. J Trauma. 38(6):937-40, 1995
                                                                                      27. Poe LB et al: Acute internal jugular vein thrombosis associated with pseudoabscess of the retropharyngeal space. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 16(4 Suppl):892-6, 1995
                                                                                      28. Mukherji SK et al: Radiologic appearance of the irradiated larynx. Part I. Expected changes. Radiology. 193(1):141-8, 1994
                                                                                      29. Ring D et al: Acute calcific retropharyngeal tendinitis. Clinical presentation and pathological characterization. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 76(11):1636-42, 1994
                                                                                      30. Glasier CM et al: CT and ultrasound imaging of retropharyngeal abscesses in children. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 13(4):1191-5, 1992
                                                                                      31. Davis WL et al: The normal and diseased infrahyoid retropharyngeal, danger, and prevertebral spaces. Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 12(3):241-56, 1991
                                                                                      32. Davis WL et al: Retropharyngeal space: evaluation of normal anatomy and diseases with CT and MR imaging. Radiology. 174(1):59-64, 1990
                                                                                      33. Artenian DJ et al: Acute neck pain due to tendonitis of the longus colli: CT and MRI findings. Neuroradiology. 31(2):166-9, 1989
                                                                                      34. Myssiorek D et al: Traumatic retropharyngeal hematoma. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 115(9):1130-2, 1989
                                                                                      35. Sneed WF et al: Retropharyngeal pseudomasses. South Med J. 77(4):528-30, 1984
                                                                                      36. Hayden CK Jr et al: Retropharyngeal edema, airway obstruction, and caval thrombosis. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 138(4):757-8, 1982
                                                                                      37. Weinberg S et al: Retropharyngeal tendinitis. Laryngoscope. 92(2):181-2, 1982
                                                                                      38. Bryan CS et al: Retropharyngeal infection in adults. Arch Intern Med. 134(1):126-30, 1974