Stylohyoid Syndrome or Eagle syndrome occurs due to elongation of the styloid process or calcification of the stylohyoid ligament, which then may produce a pain sensation due the pressure exerted on various structures in the head and neck.
There can be a wide range of symptoms, including pharyngeal discomfort, painful neck movements, change in voice, painful tongue movements, increased secretion of saliva, otalgia, and headache.
The styloid process is a slender outgrowth at the base of the temporal bone, immediately posterior to the mastoid apex.With the stylohyoid ligament and the small horn of the hyoid bone, the styloid process forms the stylohyoid apparatus, which arises embryonically from the Reichert cartilage of the second branchial arch. Eagle defined the length of a normal styloid process at 2.5-3.0 cm.
When suspected, imaging helps in identifying the abnormally elongated styloid process or the calcified ligament. In recent years, three-dimensional CT (3DCT) has proved to be valuable in these cases.
Eagle Syndrome can be treated by surgical and nonsurgical means. Nonsurgical treatments involve reassurance to the patient, analgesics, and steroid injections. Surgical treatment can be performed using one of two approaches: transpharyngeal or extraoral. The former is thought to be superior because it is less likely to cause deep space infection of the neck.