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Singapore Med J. 2012 May;53(5):305-11; quiz 312.

Infections of the deep neck spaces.

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Department of Imaging, National University Hospital, 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore.


Deep neck infections (DNI) have a propensity to spread rapidly along the interconnected deep neck spaces and compromise the airway, cervical vessels and spinal canal. The value of imaging lies in delineating the anatomical extent of the disease process, identifying the source of infection and detecting complications. Its role in the identification and drainage of abscesses is well known. This paper pictorially illustrates infections of important deep neck spaces. The merits and drawbacks of imaging modalities used for assessment of DNI, the relevant anatomy and the possible sources of infection of each deep neck space are discussed. Certain imaging features that alter the management of DNI have been highlighted.

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