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Journal of the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons 2011;38(2):199-202.
Published online March 1, 2011.
Hyoid Bone Fracture Associated with Hypoglossal Nerve Palsy: A Case Report.
Sin Rak Kim, Jin Hyung Park, Yea Sik Han
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, College of Medicine, Kosin University, Busan, Korea. hanplastic1@naver.com
Hyoid bone is a U-shaped bone in the anterior of the neck. Hyoid bone fractures are exceedingly rare and represent only 0.002% of all fractures because of its protective position relative to the mandible and its suspension by elastic musculature. We report a patient who presented hyoid bone fracture associated with hypoglossal nerve palsy. We also discuss the possible complication and treatment. METHODS: A 69-year-old man was transferred from another institution because of persistent purulent discharge from the left chin. He had a history of trauma in which a knuckle crane grabbed his face and neck in the construction site. A CT scan at the time of the accident demonstrated a comminuted fracture of the right side of the mandible and hyoid bone fracture at the junction between body and right greater cornua. The displaced fracture of hyoid bone and fullness in the pre-epiglottic space were noted, probably indicating some edema. The patient was transferred into ICU after treatment of emergency tracheostomy because the patient showed respiratory distress rapidly. When the patient was hospitalized in our emergency room, he complained of dysphagia and pain when swallowing. On examination of oral cavity, the presence of muscle wasting with fasciculation of the tongue was noted and the tongue deviates to the left side on protruding from the mouth. Pharyngolarygoscopy was performed to make sure that there was no evidence of progressive swelling and pharyngeal laceration.
The patient underwent surgical removal of dead and infected tissue from the wound and reconstruction of mandibular bony defect by iliac bone grafting. Hyoid bone fracture was managed conservatively with oral analgesics, soft diet and restricted movement. Hypoglossal nerve palsy was resolved within 7 weeks after trauma without complications.
Closed hyoid bone fracture is usually uncomplicated and thus it can be treated conservatively. Surgical intervention for hyoid bone fracture is recommended for patient with airway compromise, pharyngeal perforation and painful symptoms which show no response to conservative care. Furthermore, since respiratory distress syndrome may develop quickly, close observation is required. Besides, hypoglossal nerve palsy is a rarely recognized complication of hyoid bone fracture.
Keywords: Hyoid bone; Fracture; Hypoglossal nerve palsy
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