BMJ Case Reports 2017; doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-222576
  • Unusual presentation of more common disease/injury

Cervical oesophageal perforation secondary to food consumption in a well-appearing patient

Editor's Choice
  1. Akihiro J Matsuoka
  1. Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alexander L Schneider, alexander.schneider{at}
  • Accepted 7 November 2017
  • Published 21 November 2017


A 71-year-old woman presented to the emergency department 8 days after ingesting fish with mild neck pain but otherwise demonstrated no signs of infection. X-rays were negative but CT imaging demonstrated a curvilinear radiodense object extending from the posterior cervical oesophagus through the right thyroid lobe terminating in the neck just a few millimetres from the external carotid artery. Rigid oesophagoscopy and direct laryngoscopy were negative and the neck was explored for the foreign body, which ultimately was encountered after a painstaking dissection of the right neck that included skeletonisation of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. Her postoperative recovery was uneventful and after a 3-day course of intravenous antibiotics she was discharged on oral antibiotics, in good condition and tolerating a soft diet.


  • Contributors AS, KH and AM each made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data; were responsible for drafting the work or revising it critically for important intellectual content; provided final approval of the version published; agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work; agree to ensure that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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