A Perspective of Clinical Behaviour and Management of Deep Neck Space Infections (DNSI): The Clinical Conundrum

  • Apoorva Kumar Pandey
  • Chetan BansalEmail author
  • Tripti Maithani
  • Arvind Varma
  • V. P. Singh
Original Article


The diagnosis and management of deep neck space infections remain a challenging task for otolaryngologists. A retrospective observational analysis of 137 cases of deep neck infections at a tertiary care centre was reviewed. We present 137 treated cases of DNSIs in a retrospective 5 years clinical study conducted in the department of otolaryngology at a tertiary care center from January 2012 to December 2016. Demographic information, Socio-economic data, etiopathogenesis, clinical presentation, spaces involved, diagnosis, and treatment strategies, associated morbidities, course and complications were analysed and compared with past experiences. Odontogenic and salivary gland infections causes were the most common source of DNIs. Major complication observed was skin defect. In this study, submandibular space infection was found to be the most common space involved in DNSI. Pain (100%) was the most common clinical complaint followed by neck swelling (65.69%). Staphylococcus aureus (38 cases) was the most common micro-organism isolated. Surgical intervention was the main modality of treatment and there was one mortality. DNSIs are fairly common challenging and potentially lethal entities which can lead to severe complications in a very short time, should there be delay in its prompt diagnosis and management. Computerized Tomography Scan (CT scan) with contrast is the investigation of choice in diagnosing DNSIs. Assessment of airway control must take precedence.


Deep neck space infections (DNSIs) Submandibular space Retropharyngeal space Parapharyngeal space Odontogenic infections Computerized tomography (CT) Incision and Drainage (I & D) Diabetes mellitus (DM) 



The authors wish to thank Dr Anthony W Chow for giving permission to quote one pictorial demonstration of deep neck spaces from one of his articles.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declare that they have no conflict of interest

Financial Disclosure

There are no financial interests the authors may have in companies or other entities that have an interest in the information in the Contribution (e.g., grants, advisory boards, employment, consultancies, contracts, honoraria, royalties, expert testimony, partnerships, or stock ownership in medically related fields). The authors have no financial interest.


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Copyright information

© Association of Otolaryngologists of India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ENTShri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Medical SciencesDehradunIndia
  2. 2.Department of ENTShri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Medical & Health SciencesDehradunIndia

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