Trauma can cause a tear or perforation of the pharynx. If the perforation goes undetected, then a number of complications can occur.

Sources of pharyngeal penetration:

(1) penetrating neck trauma

(2) foreign body impaction

(3) blunt trauma

(4) barotrauma

(5) iatrogenic (intubation, endoscopy, cervical surgery, other)


Risk factors for complications:

(1) delay in recognition and management

(2) larger perforation


Complications may include:

(1) retropharyngeal abscess

(2) mediastinitis

(3) compromise of the airway

(4) tracheopharyngeal fistula

(5) cervical necrotizing fasciitis

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