Conditions related to bone or ligaments can be more often complex. It starts with simple pain in the respective bones and ligaments that spread over time and results to some more severe disease. Our face and neck can be affected by a number of bone conditions, one of them being eagle syndrome. This is a rare condition but can become severe if occurred to a person. There are many problems that are associated with this health issue. Since it is a syndrome, not much can be said about the cause of this problem which makes the situation worse. Today we will discuss about eagle syndrome and try to know more about this complex health problem.
What Is Eagle Syndrome?
OnlyMyHealth talked to Dr. Rizvaan Ahmed, Orthopaedic Surgeon who works in Ivory Hospital, Greater Noida to know about eagle syndrome. He said that this condition occurs rarely to people and not many cases have been observed in the recent past. Eagle Syndrome is a complex disorder which affects your face and neck. This happens because of issues occurring with styloid process or stylohoid ligament. This ligament is a small pointy bone that is present just below your ears. Stylohoid ligament helps to connect hyoid bone in your neck to the face bone. When there is a problem of any sort in these bones, then it may result in eagle syndrome.
Symptoms of Eagle Syndrome
In most cases that come of this disorder, patients report of pain in their neck and lower jaw. This is also accompanied by a number of other symptoms that are-
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Ringing in your ears
- Feeling of blockage in throat
Symptoms of eagle syndrome can increase over time. Pain of this syndrome may come and go, it is also possible that it becomes constant in some cases. Patients suffer from headache and neck pain very often in this condition. Hence it is advised to get diagnosed properly if the headache or pain in jaw lasts for more than a week.
What Causes Eagle Syndrome?
According to orthopaedic doctor, cause of eagle syndrome is usually long styloid process or a calcified stylohoid ligament. This cannot be determined easily and there are still research going on to find the relevant cause of this syndrome. Eagle syndrome can happen to people of all ages but is more persistent in people between the age of 40 and 60 years. This problem in the ligament and areas near it can only be resolved by a few methods.
Complications Associated with Eagle Syndrome
Complications that come with this syndrome are not particularly to occur. It is already a rare disease and happens mostly because of internal problems in the ligaments of lower jaw and neck. In some cases, the long styloid can put pressure on internal carotid arteries which can put pressure on the neck. This may cause stroke to the person and he will have to be taken to emergency in order to save his life.
Other complications that can arise because of eagle syndrome are-
- Sudden weakness
- Loss of balance
- Change in vision or diluted vision
Diagnosis of Eagle Syndrome
Eagle syndrome is difficult to determine because of a simple fact that it has many symptoms that are common for most other conditions related to pain, stress, pull and weakness. Diagnosis can be done if doctor check your head and neck for any signs of unusual long styloid process. The best way to diagnose and determine seriousness of this condition is through CT scan and X-ray. It will help in finding out the exact location and view around area of styloid process and ligament.
How Can Eagle Syndrome be treated?
The only way to treat eagle syndrome is through surgical method. It is caused by long styloid ligament which needs to be cut short. The surgeon may have to remove your tonsils in order to access styloid process. In some cases surgeons also choose to operate through neck region in which a small opening in made. But this process leaves a large scar on the neck where the operation takes place.
Endoscopic surgery is another common treatment option that is usually done to treat eagle syndrome. In this process, the surgeon inserts endoscope through your mouth and small tools are attached to perform the surgery. Endoscopic surgery is less invasive that traditional surgical method and recovery is also quicker.
Other treatment options that may go along or after the surgical methods to reduce pain are-
- Over the counter medicines
- Local anaesthesia
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