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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Eagle syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • Eagle's syndrome
  • Elongated styloid process syndrome
  • Elongated styloid process which causes cervico facial pain tinnitus and otalgia
  • Styloid-stylohyoid syndrome
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How might Eagle syndrome be treated?

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What is Eagle syndrome?

Eagle syndrome is a collection of symptoms that includes recurrent throat and ear pain, foreign body sensation (or the feeling that something is stuck in one's throat), dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), and/or facial pain. This condition is a direct result of an elongated styloid process of the temporal bone or calcified stylohyoid ligament. The actual cause of the elongation is a poorly understood process. Diagnosis is made both radiographically and by physical examination. Treatment of Eagle syndrome is both surgical and nonsurgical.[1]
Last updated: 7/28/2010

How might Eagle syndrome be treated?

In general, treatment of Eagle syndrome is both surgical and nonsurgical.[1] Nonsurgical treatments include reassurance, a diet of soft foods, use of an intra-oral splint, use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (analgesics), anticonvulsants, antidepressants, local steroid injections or long-acting anesthetic agents, and manual (chiropractic) therapy.[1][2][3]  The experimental use of radiofrequency therapies upon the affected nerves may also be an option, but is considered experimental at this time.[4] 

Surgical treatment involves removal of the extension of the styloid process that is causing the pain.[1][3] This surgery can carry risks, including scarring from the site of surgery or continued pain from Eagle syndrome or from surgical complications such as damage to the carotid vessels or the nerves in the area.[3]

Last updated: 12/2/2011