Retropharyngeal space lipoma: an unusual cause of dysphagia

Chinyere N. Asoegwu, Nkiruka A. Wakwe, Clement C. Nwawolo


Lipomas are uncommon in the head and neck region and rare in the retropharyngeal space. Lipoma of the retropharyngeal space may cause aerodigestive tract obstruction presenting as dyspnea and or dysphagia. The presenting symptoms will depend on the size and site of the lipoma in the retropharyngeal space. We present the case of a 57 years old male with 6 months’ history of progressive dysphagia to solid foods only and no positive sign on clinical examination. The barium swallow was normal. The computed tomography (CT) scan showed a moderate-sized homogenous mass of fat density in the hypopharyngeal section of the retropharyngeal space. Diagnosis of dysphagia caused by retropharyngeal lipoma was made. This was surgically excised via the trans-cervical route with no complications, complete resolution of symptoms, and no recurrence 2 years after on follow-up. In the dysphagia of unknown cause, retropharyngeal space lipoma should be considered.


Retropharyngeal space, Lipoma, Dysphagia, Case report

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