Skull Base 2010; 20(4): 301-304
DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1249246

© Thieme Medical Publishers

Tenth and Twelfth Nerve Palsies in a Patient with Internal Carotid Artery Dissection Mistaken for Cervical Mass Lesion

Christoph Arnoldner1 , Dominik Riss1 , Jens Wagenblast2 , Veronika Starlinger1 , Jafar-Sasan Hamzavi1
  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
  • 2Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
02 March 2010 (online)


Among the multiple causes for cranial nerve palsies, internal carotid artery dissection is rather uncommon. Patients usually present with unilateral head pain, Horner's syndrome, and signs of cerebral ischemia. We present the case of a 52-year-old male patient, who showed isolated palsies of the tenth and twelfth nerve without any other symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging (T1) depicted a hyperintense lesion surrounding the internal carotid artery, which was mistaken for a cervical mass, and the patient underwent unnecessary surgical exploration of the neck. Angiography performed afterward could reveal the dissection of the internal carotid artery. This case shows that even in cases with mild and atypic symptoms, internal carotid artery dissection has always to be ruled out in lower cranial nerve palsies.


Christoph Arnoldner, M.D. 

Department AKH-HNO, Medical University of Vienna

Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1097 Vienna, Austria