Eagle’s Syndrome (Elongated Styloid Process)

Eagle’s Syndrome (aka. stylohyoid syndrome, styloid syndrome, styloid–carotid artery syndrome)

Eagle’s Syndrome is an elongation of the styloid process.

The diagnosis is made by radiographic imaging and clinical signs.

throat-pain-stuck-in-throat-tmj-ear-fullness-tinnitus-Eagle's-syndrome-migraine-TMD-TMJthroat-pain-stuck-in-throat-tmj-ear-fullness-tinnitus-Eagle's-syndrome-migraine-TMD-TMJ(Buchaim, 2012)
Eagle’S Syndrome Symptoms:

– pain over the TMJ area (Costantinides 2013)

– refered pain to the ear (Costantinides 2013, Casale 2008)

– tinnitus (Guo 1997)

– a foreign-body sensation in the throat (pharynx) (Costantinides 2013, Guo 1997)

– throat / pharynx pain (Costantinides 2013, Al-Nuamee 2013, Guo 1997)

– trouble swallowing (dysphagia) (Casale 2008, Al-Nuamee 2013)

– neck pain (Costantinides 2013, Al-Nuamee 2013, Casale 2008)

– craniofacial especially the retrogoniac area (Costantinides 2013, Al-Nuamee 2013, Casale 2008)

– migraines (Al-Nuamee 2013, Carro 1995)

– headaches (Al-Nuamee, 2013, Carro 1995, Chourdia  2002)

– dizzyness (Al-Nuamee 2013)

– reduced ability to open the mouth (Guo 1997)



Based on the author’s (Costantinides 2013) recommendation “when treating patients affected by temporomandibular disorders (TMD), complaining of atypical orofacial pain, and with a concomitant radiographic finding of a bilaterally elongated styloid, the possible coexistence of Eagle’s syndrome should always be considered.    When the clinician is faced with a patient complaining of chronic orofacial pain, the diagnostic pathway may be difficult. Considering that the clinical manifestations of Eagle’s syndrome resemble those of numerous other diseases, the patient often comes to the dental office after having visited other dentists or specialists, such as otolaryngologists (ENT), neurologists or maxillofacial surgeons, who have sometimes treated the symptoms without focusing on the diagnosis. Furthermore, Eagle’s syndrome may coexist and overlap with a TMD.



Costantinides, F. et al.  Eagle’s Syndrome: Signs and Symptoms,  Cranio, Vol 31, No. 1, January 2013

Casale M et al. Atypical chronic head and neck pain: don’t forget Eagle’s syndrome.  Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci.  2008 Mar-Apr;12(2):131-3.

Guo, B. et al. Correlation between ossification of the stylohyoid ligament and osteophytes of the cervical spine. J. Rheumatol., 24(8):1575-81, 1997.

Al-Nuamee, S.  The role of 3-dimensional multi-detector computed
tomography in the diagnosis of Eagle’s syndrome and correlation with severe headache and migraine.  J Bagh Coll Dentistry 2013; 25(Special Issue 1):72-76

Carro LP, Nunez MP. Fracture of the styloid process of the temporal bone. A case report. Int Orthop1995; 19: 359- 60.

Chourdia V. Elongated styloid process (Eagle’s syndrome) & severe headache. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2002; 54: 238-41.

Buchaim RL et al.  Anatomical, clinical and radiographic characteristics of styloid syndrome (Eagle syndrome): a case report. Int. J. Morphol., 30(2):701-704, 2012.


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