Eagle syndrome is an aggregate of symptoms caused by an elongated ossified styloid process.
Eagle syndrome can occur unilaterally or bilaterally and most frequently results in symptoms of shooting pain to the ear,dysphagia, headache, pain on rotation of the neck, pain on extension of the tongue, change in voice, and a sensation of hyper salivation. Although approximately 4% of the population is thought to have an elongated styloid process, only a small percentage (between 4% and 10.3%) of this group is thought to actually be symptomatic
Diagnosis is made both radio graphically and by physical examination. Palpation of the styloid process in the tonsillar fossa is indicative of elongated styloid in that processes of normal length are not normally palpable. Palpation of the tip of the styloid should exacerbate existing symptoms.
Although Eagle syndrome is thought to be caused by an elongated styloid process or calcified stylohyoid ligament, the presence of an elongated styloid process is not pathognomonic for Eagle syndrome because many patients with incidental findings of an elongated styloid process are asymptomatic.
CT is useful in that it provides complementary information to that provided by plain radiographic studies.
Treatment of Eagle syndrome is both surgical and nonsurgical. Nonsurgical treatments include reassurance, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and steroid injections.
Surgical treatment is by one of two methods. ENT surgeons preferentially used a transoral approach through which the elongated portion of the styloid process was removed. Alternatively, the elongated portion can be removed by an extraoral approach.
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