What is Eagle’s Syndrome?
Eagle’s Syndrome is also known as Elongated Styloid Process Syndrome or Styloid-Stylohyoid Syndrome. It is nothing but a combination of symptoms that include recurring ear and throat pain, difficulty swallowing or dysphagia, feeling that something is stuck in the throat or foreign body sensation and facial pain. Elongated Styloid Process Syndrome is a result of the elongation of styloid process of the temporal bone or calcification of stylohyoid ligament or mineralization of stylohyoid ligament. Females are more prone to this condition than males.
Eagle’s Syndrome is also characterized by the presence of an abnormally long styloid process whose length could be more than 1.18 inches (30mm).
Styloid Process & Stylohyoid Ligament:
The styloid process is nothing but a bone piece beginning at the base of the skull, attaching itself to several ligaments and muscles that are in turn connected to the tongue and throat.
Stylohyoid ligament is a fiber rich band that connects the styloid process to a muscle known as stylohyoideous muscle which in turn controls the floor of the mouth.
Two Clinical Features of Styloid-Stylohyoid Syndrome:
Dr. Watt W. Eagle of Duke University described the syndrome for the first time in 1937. The syndrome may manifest itself in two forms. These include:
- Classical Stylohyoid Syndrome:
Eagle observed that a week after tonsillectomy in patients, they complained of a dull pain in the wall of pharynx. Because the pain after tonsillectomy reduces in a week’s time, this pain was not considered to be post tonsillectomy pain.
- Stylocarotid Syndrome:
This condition is associated with facial, cervical and ocular pain and it is known to develop spontaneously. The pain is a result of the irritation of carotid artery.
Treating Eagle’s Syndrome:
Both non surgical and surgical options are available for this condition.
- Nonsurgical treatment options include soft diet, anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, chiropractic therapy and locally given steroidal injections.
- Surgical options are aimed at the removal of the elongated styloid process.
Remember, only 4% of the patients with extended styloid process show the symptoms of this syndrome.