Significant injuries from endotracheal intubation are exceedingly rare but can lead to life-threatening complications, such as pharyngeal perforation. This type of perforation can result in abscess formation and airway compromise. Risks for this complication include operator skill and intubation in emergent situations. This case report details a 59-year-old male who underwent elective septoplasty with bilateral nasal turbinate reduction. The procedure required general anesthesia induction and endotracheal intubation. He developed a gradually enlarging right-sided neck mass with associated fevers, neck pain, odynophagia, and dysphonia. He presented to the emergency department on postoperative day 5 and was diagnosed with a right-sided, prevertebral space abscess with airway mass effect secondary to pharyngeal perforation. He was admitted for operative management, intravenous antibiotics, and was successfully treated. While significant injury from endotracheal intubation is rare, it can result in infection and threaten airway patency. Emergency physicians must recognize pharyngeal perforation as a potential source of infection following instrumentation of the pharynx. This case has been reported to increase awareness of the potential for such injury.
Published In/Presented At
Kaul, K., Nayak, C. S., Jacoby, J., & Katz, K. D. (2021). Deep neck abscess after intubation trauma: a case report. Radiology Case Reports, 17(3), 615–618. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.radcr.2021.11.062
Emergency Medicine | Otolaryngology
Department of Emergency Medicine