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Retropharyngeal Space Infection

The retropharyngeal space lies behind the pharynx and esophagus, just anterior to the prevertebral fascia. It extends superiorly to the base of the skull and inferiorly to the bifurcation of the trachea.

Patients generally present with trismus, drooling, dyspnea, dysphagia, and a mass, often fluctuant, on one side of the posterior pharyngeal wall.

Lateral radiographs of the neck are also helpful in diagnosis. It is important, however, to have proper positioning of the patient at the time of X-ray; otherwise the results may be misleading. The patient should have the neck extended in a true lateral position for the X-ray.

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