Victor D. Woodlief, DMD
750 North Capitol Avenue, Suite A2
San Jose, CA 95133
(408) 258-5054, (855) TMJ-SLEEP

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A Rare Cause for Cervical Pain: Eagle’s Syndrome

September 14th, 2012

A 42-year-old female came to our office to evaluate pharyngodynia (pain in the throat) and foreign body sensation on the right side of her throat that she suffered for over a year. The patient was very compliant. During the examination an elongated styloid process (bone below the ear) could be palpated (felt) in the mouth behind the right tonsillar area. Palpation elicited a painful sensation. There are several reasons for the elongations of the styloid bone, the main one being calcium build up on the ligaments attached to the styloid process.

The CT confirmed this elongation. For a complete study of the case, CT scans were taken to better define length, angulation, and anatomical relationship of the styloid process to the skull. CT scans revealed a 3.1 cm length of the right styloid process (a normal length is 2-4mm)!

Patients with initial symptoms of vague head and neck pain generally can radiate to multiple places, making diagnosis difficult. A thorough medical history is required for an accurate diagnosis of Eagle’s syndrome; therefore the patient’s description of the symptoms is very important. It is necessary to complete a detailed examination palpating the tonsillar area. Results should reveal a bony formation, which is exacerbated upon touch. After a dose of lidocaine, patients experience a “temporary” relief of symptoms which confirms the diagnosis.

Dr. Woodlief is trained to treat Eagle’s Syndrome permanently, utilizing several techniques. If you have any questions, or want to schedule an evaluation, please call Dr. Woodlief’s office at 408-258-5054.

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