Skip to main content


Log in

Longus Colli Tendinitis: The Lost Twin of Retropharyngeal Abscess

  • Clinical Report
  • Published:
Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Longus colli calcific tendinitis is a rare condition which mimics the alarming condition, retropharyngeal abscess. Clinically, the patient presents which acute cervical pain, dysphagia and fever. Since this condition is little known to otorhinolaryngologists, it is usually misdiagnosed as a retropharyngeal abscess which is more common. This is a case report of a 52 year old female who presented with complaints of neck pain and difficulty in swallowing along with fever which were acute in onset. Clinically, the symptoms overlapped with those of a retropharyngeal abscess. The diagnosis was confirmed as longus colli calcific tendinitis. Longus colli calcific tendinitis is a rare entity which can be diagnosed solely based on radiological investigation. The knowledge of this disease is crucial to otorhinolaryngolists as it avoids over treatment, unwarranted chance surgical exposure.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Gray H (1918) IV. Myology. 5d. The anterior vertebral muscles. Anatomy of the human body. [Internet]. [cited 2018 Jun 27].

  2. Suh B, Eoh J, Shin J (2018) Clinical and imaging features of longus colli calcific tendinitis: an analysis of ten cases. Clin Orthop Surg 10(2):204–209

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Roldan CJ, Carlson PJ (2013) Longus colli tendonitis, clinical consequences of a misdiagnosis. Am J Emerg Med 31(10):1538.e1–1538.e2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Harnier S, Kuhn J, Harzheim A, Bewermeyer H, Limmroth V (2008) Retropharyngeal tendinitis: a rare differential diagnosis of severe headaches and neck pain. Headache J Head Face Pain 48(1):158–161

    Google Scholar 

  5. Naik PP, Poduval J, Divakaran S (2017) Review article: retropharyngeal abscess—mimickers and masqueraders. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 69(2):269–273

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Ring D, Vaccaro AR, Scuderi G, Pathria MN, Garfin SR (1994) Acute calcific retropharyngeal tendinitis. Clinical presentation and pathological characterization. JBJS 76(11):1636

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Urrutia J, Contreras O (2017) Calcium hydroxyapatite crystal deposition with intraosseous penetration involving the posterior aspect of the cervical spine: a previously unreported cause of neck pain. Eur Spine J Off Publ Eur Spine Soc Eur Spinal Deform Soc Eur Sect Cerv Spine Res Soc 26(Suppl 1):53–57

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Hartley J (1964) Acute cervical pain associated with retropharyngeal calcium deposit: a case report. JBJS 46(8):1753

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Kim Y-J, Park J-Y, Choi K-Y, Moon B-J, Lee J-K (2017) Case reports about an overlooked cause of neck pain: calcific tendinitis of the longus colli. Medicine (Baltimore) [Internet]. [cited 2018 Jun 27]; 96(46).

  10. Zibis AH, Giannis D, Malizos KN, Kitsioulis P, Arvanitis DL (2013) Acute calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscle: case report and review of the literature. Eur Spine J 22(Suppl 3):434–438

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Oliva F, Via AG, Maffulli N (2012) Physiopathology of intratendinous calcific deposition. BMC Med 23(10):95

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Park R, Halpert DE, Baer A, Kunar D, Holt PA (2010) Retropharyngeal calcific tendinitis: case report and review of the literature. Semin Arthritis Rheum 39(6):504–509

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Abou Dargham H, Bytyci F, Shuman C, Stolear A (2017) A rare cause of acute dysphagia: acute calcific tendonitis of the longus colli muscle. BMJ Case Rep 27:2017

    Google Scholar 

  14. Patel TK, Weis JC (2017) Acute neck pain in the ED: consider longus colli calcific tendinitis vs meningitis. Am J Emerg Med 35(6):943.e3–943.e4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Artenian DJ, Lipman JK, Scidmore GK, Brant-Zawadzki M (1989) Acute neck pain due to tendonitis of the longus colli: CT and MRI findings. Neuroradiology 31(2):166–169

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Jiménez S, Millán JM (2007) Calcific retropharyngeal tendinitis: a frequently missed diagnosis. J Neurosurg Spine 6(1):77–80

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Abdelbaki A, Abdelbaki S, Bhatt N, Gupta N, Li S, Ghasemiesfe A, et al Acute calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscle: report of two cases and review of the literature. Cureus [Internet]. [cited 2018 Jun 27]; 9(8).

Download references


The author wishes heartfelt gratitude to his teachers and Pink.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paresh Pramod Naik.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Consent of patient and family was obtained for publication of this report and confidentiality has been maintained.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Naik, P.P., Savery, N., Kuruvilla, L. et al. Longus Colli Tendinitis: The Lost Twin of Retropharyngeal Abscess. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 71 (Suppl 1), 771–775 (2019).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: