Calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscle

Case contributed by Pamela Boustros
Diagnosis probable


Acute neck pain for 3 days.

Patient Data

Age: 30 years
Gender: Female

Non-enhanced CT of the neck demonstrates amorphous calcifications anterior to the C1-C2 level, at the site of attachment of the superior tendons of the longus colli muscle.  Associated with an elongated retropharyngeal fluid collection that extends from C3-C5.

Annotated images


Arrows point to the amorphous calcifications. The yellow circle shows the retropharyngeal effusion.

Case Discussion

This case illustrates the typical appearance of calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscle; calcifications at the site of attachment of the longus colli muscle (anterior to the C1-C2 disc space), and retropharyngeal space edema. The absence of lymphadenopathy, intervertebral disc space narrowing or bony erosions helps narrow the differential.

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