Penetrating pharyngeal injuries in children: Trivial trauma leading to devastating complications

Document Type



Surgery; Paediatric Surgery


Pharyngeal perforations are uncommon in children and are usually secondary to instrumentation or external penetrating injuries. A delay in management can lead to life-threatening complications such as retropharyngeal abscess, mediastinitis, and airway compromise. We report three children who had pharyngeal perforation due to apparently innocuous injury and who developed serious complications. A high index of suspicion for a significant pharyngeal injury, use of lateral soft-tissue x-ray films of the neck, and flexible endoscopy in the emergency room can assist in early diagnosis when evaluating patients with oropharyngeal and penetrating neck injury. Prompt administration of broad-spectrum antibiotics, local drainage, and debridement can evert life-threatening complications.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Pediatric Surgery International