Dissection of the Internal Carotid Artery following Trauma of the Soft Palate in Children

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We undertook this report to underline the risks of lesions of the internal carotid artery after lateral oropharyngeal trauma in children and to discuss the diagnosis and treatment of this complication.


We present 2 pediatric cases of carotid dissection following lateral soft palate trauma.


In 1 case, transient symptomatic cerebral ischemia occurred 24 hours after the initial traumatic injury. In both patients, the carotid dissection was assessed by magnetic resonance imaging with vascular and diffusion sequences. Treatment with low–molecular weight heparin calcium was maintained for several months. At the end of follow-up, both children were asymptomatic.


We suggest noninvasive imaging of the carotid artery by enhanced computed tomographic scanning after trauma to the lateral part of the soft palate in children. Magnetic resonance imaging with vascular and diffusion sequences is useful in assessing the extension of the dissection toward the cerebral circulation and in early detection of cerebral ischemia. Anticoagulation with heparin probably reduces the risks of cerebral infarction. Patients must regularly undergo physical examination and noninvasive imaging of the carotid artery for at least 1 year after the traumatic injury.

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