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Sao Paulo Med J. 2010;128(5):302-5.

Extensive parapharyngeal and skull base neuroglial ectopia; a challenge for differential diagnosis and treatment: case report.

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  • 1Beneficência Portuguesa Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil.



neuroglial ectopia has been defined as a mass composed of differentiated neuroectodermal tissue isolated from the spinal canal or cranial cavity and remains rare. This lesion has to be considered in the differential diagnosis among newborn infants with classical symptoms of respiratory distress, neck mass and feeding difficulties. We present a rare case of extensive parapharyngeal and skull base neuroglial ectopia in 6-month-old girl who presented respiratory and feeding obstruction at birth.


a six-month-old girl who presented upper respiratory and feeding obstruction at birth and was using tracheostomy and gastrostomy tubes was referred to our institution. Complete surgical excision of the mass consisted of a transcervical-transparotid approach with extension to the infratemporal fossa by means of a lateral transzygomatic incision, allowing preservation of all vital neurovascular structures. The anatomopathological examination showed a solid mass with nests of neural tissue, with some neurons embedded in poorly encapsulated fibrovascular stroma, without mitotic areas, and with presence of functioning choroid plexus in the immunohistochemistry assay. Neurovascular function was preserved, thus allowing postoperative decannulation and oral feeding. Despite the large size of the mass, the child has completed one year and six months of follow-up without complications or recurrence. Neuroglial ectopia needs to be considered in diagnosing airway obstruction among newborns. Surgical treatment is the best choice and should be performed on clinically stable patients. An algorithm to guide the differential diagnosis and improve the treatment was proposed.

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