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Global Spine J. 2013 Jun;3(2):115-8. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1331462. Epub 2012 Dec 6.

"Globus symptoms": a rare case of giant osteochondroma of the axis treated with high cervical extrapharyngeal approach.

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Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich, United Kingdom.
Department of Plastic Surgery, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norwich, United Kingdom.


Background Osteochondroma is the most common primary bone tumor, composing 35% of benign bone tumors and 9% of all bone tumors; 1.3 to 4.1% of all osteochondromas originate from the spine. A rare differential diagnosis for globus symptoms is an osteochondroma originating from the anterior surface of the axis. We describe a rare case of osteochondroma of the dens resulting in "globus symptoms" (the subjective sensation of a mass in the throat) treated with excision via the high cervical extrapharyngeal approach. Purpose To discuss the surgical management of this problem, with an emphasis on surgical approach used. The clinical history, examination, and investigations are presented and illustrated, along with clinical patient outcome. Study Design/Setting This article is a case report of a patient treated at the Department of Trauma and Orthopaedics in an active university teaching hospital. Methods Case presentation. For the discussion, we used handpicked articles, as well as MEDLINE and PubMed database searches with the keywords "C2," "dens," "osteochondroma," "globus," "extrapharyngeal approach." Results Uncomplicated procedure. Histological analysis confirmed a benign osteochondroma with no evidence of malignancy. The patient underwent an uncomplicated postoperative recovery and was discharged 24 hours after surgery, fully ambulatory and eating and drinking well. Conclusions The high cervical retropharyngeal approach is safe and reproducible for the excision of osteochondromas or osteophytes of the upper cervical spine.


approach; c2; cervical spine; dens; excision; extra-pharyngeal; high pharyngeal; osteochondroma

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