• Users Online: 1257
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 303-304

Dancing pharynx

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Date of Submission01-Nov-2019
Date of Acceptance30-Dec-2019
Date of Web Publication01-Apr-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Yew Toong Liew
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, University Malaya Medical Centre, Kuala Lumpur 50603
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tcmj.tcmj_245_19

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Liew YT, Junior AC, Bakri A, Narayanan P. Dancing pharynx. Tzu Chi Med J 2020;32:303-4

How to cite this URL:
Liew YT, Junior AC, Bakri A, Narayanan P. Dancing pharynx. Tzu Chi Med J [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Aug 4];32:303-4. Available from: https://www.tcmjmed.com/text.asp?2020/32/3/303/281785

A 65-year-old female was referred to our otolaryngology clinic by anesthetic clinic for the assessment of her dysphagia for 3 months. She underwent anesthetic assessment as per hospital protocol before a planned surgery under general anesthesia for her posterior upper torso lipoma. She denied symptoms of weight and appetite loss. However, she felt a persistent globus sensation on her right side of the throat. Endoscopic examination showed a pulsatile mass at the right posterior pharyngeal wall with smooth surface and round contour [Video 1]. Computed tomography arteriogram noticed a bended tortuous right internal carotid artery indenting on the right posterolateral pharyngeal wall [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]. There have been reported cases of carotid artery anomalies such as aberrant and agenesis of the carotid artery, but tortuosity of the carotid artery has rarely been seen. It is believed that acquired causes such as atherosclerosis, hypertension, and other peripheral vascular diseases could contribute to the formation of tortuosity[1]. The congenital reason may explain the incidence in the younger age group. Our patient was diagnosed to have Type II diabetes and hypertension recently but was not compliant on the treatment. This incidence was mostly on the right side and among females, in most of the cases reported[2]. The most common clinical presentation was abnormal sensation in the throat. Atypical symptoms included temporal blindness, stroke, lingual spasm, and vertigo[3],[4]. It was suggested that surgical reconstruction could help relieve the symptoms and may prevent future risk of ischemic stroke. However, most articles were underpowered[5]. She was managed conservatively with speech and language input with advice regarding food textures and swallowing techniques. Simultaneously, expert consultation was acquired from the endocrinology team in managing her comorbidities with strict control. The tortuous internal carotid artery is a risk factor for any pharyngeal procedures. Endotracheal intubation or even insertion of laryngeal mask could lead to disastrous outcome. Her planned surgery under general anesthesia was, therefore, cancelled in view of the risks mentioned. In conclusion, most head-and-neck surgeons should recognize this rare anomaly as any pharyngeal procedure can lead to devastating complications.
Figure 1: Coronal computed tomography angiogram shows a severe tortuous internal carotid artery impinging on the right pharyngeal wall (arrow)

Click here to view
Figure 2: Axial computed tomography angiogram shows the anomaly at the right posterolateral of the pharyngeal wall

Click here to view
Figure 3: Reconstructed computed tomography angiogram showing obvious asymmetry of both internal carotid arteries where the right has more tortuous course

Click here to view

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that an appropriate patient consent form has been obtained. In the form, the patient has given her consent for her images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patient understands that her name and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal her identity.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interests.

  References Top

Weibel J, Fields WS. Tortuosity, coiling, and kinking of the internal carotid artery. I. Etiology and radiographic anatomy. Neurology 1965;15:7-18.  Back to cited text no. 1
Hosokawa S, Mineta H. Tortuous internal carotid artery presenting as a pharyngeal mass. J Laryngol Otol 2010;124:1033-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
Wahba M. Lingual spasms associated with internal carotid artery tortuosity. Arch Neurol Neurosci 2019;2:1-3.  Back to cited text no. 3
Yu J, Qu L, Xu B, Wang S, Li C, Xu X, et al. Current understanding of dolichoarteriopathies of the internal carotid artery: A review. Int J Med Sci 2017;14:772-84.  Back to cited text no. 4
Togay-Işikay C, Kim J, Betterman K, Andrews C, Meads D, Tesh P, et al. Carotid artery tortuosity, kinking, coiling: Stroke risk factor, marker, or curiosity? Acta Neurol Belg 2005;105:68-72.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded111    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal