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Undiagnosed pharyngeal perforation following a penetrating neck trauma in a 5-year-old child: a proposed treatment algorithm


External penetrating wounds of the neck leading to pharyngeal perforations are relatively uncommon. The small area of the neck contains the vital vascular, aerodigestive and nervous structures, which are difficult to access surgically. Pharyngeal perforations are challenging to treat, especially in children, as primary wound inspection may be difficult, leading to life-threatening complications like retropharyngeal abscesses, mediastinitis or airway compromise. The following is a case report of a 5-year-old girl who had a road traffic accident causing a neck laceration with a pharyngeal tear, which was only identified during emergency neck exploration in the operating room. A review of known literature and a proposed algorithm for managing penetrating neck injuries with pharyngeal injury is described.

  • otolaryngology / ENT
  • paediatric intensive care
  • ear
  • nose and throat/otolaryngology

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