Friday, January 27, 2012

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Retropharyngeal abscess - X-ray

Retropharyngeal abscess is a rare condition presenting in infants (<1 year of age). Clinical symptoms include fever and drooling. 
As a result of the swelling within the posterior pharyngeal wall causing upper airway obstruction, the child
will typically hold their neck in extension to assist breathing. 
A lateral soft tissue neck radiograph taken with the neck held in extension is indicated if a retropharyngeal
abscess is suspected. If it is positive, it will demonstrate air within the swollen retropharyngeal tissues, as shown by the x-ray above. A contrast enhanced computerized tomography (CT) examination will confirm the diagnosis.


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