Grisel's syndrome post otolaryngology procedures: A systematic review

Turki Al-Driweesh, Fatemah Altheyab, Mazyad Alenezi, Sultan Alanazy, Turki Aldrees
International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology 2020 June 27, 137: 110225

OBJECTIVE: To increase awareness and the index of suspicion regarding Grisel's syndrome among otolaryngologists after otolaryngology procedures.

METHOD: We conducted a search of MEDLINE/PubMed for articles published through January 2020 utilizing the following terms: Grisel's syndrome, Grisel syndrome, and atlantoaxial subluxation alone and in combination with other terms like ENT, otolaryngology, head & neck, tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, adenotonsillectomy, mastoidectomy, tympanoplasty, and tympanomastoidectomy. We included English-language cases that occurred after surgical procedures and contained the following data: age, onset, common presenting symptoms, diagnostic approach, management options, and the presence of complications.

RESULT: We found 39 papers that met our criteria. Most cases occurred after adenotonsillectomy with or without ventilation tube insertion (55.6%). The majority of the affected population was the pediatric age group, and the main presenting symptom was torticollis that presents as early-onset. In regard to management, most of the cases were treated with medical therapy with or without adjunctive measures (e.g., a cervical collar). No neurological complications were recorded except in one case that was treated with no long term sequel.

CONCLUSION: Grisel's syndrome is a rare complication that occurs after otolaryngology procedures and can result in serious neurological complications and death. A high index of suspicion is an important factor for early diagnosis and management to prevent such complications. In most cases, conservative management is successful with a good prognosis.

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