Calcification of the external ear (auricular cartilage) may arise from a number of causes, including:
gout and pseudogout
Calcification of the globe has many causes, varying from the benign to malignant. When calcification is seen of the posterior half of the globe, it could relate to any of the layers (scleral, choroidal or retinal), as it is not possible to separate them out on CT.
drusen: 1% population...
Calcific tendinitis of the longus colli muscles is an inflammatory/granulomatous response to the deposition of calcium hydroxyapatite crystals in the tendons of the longus colli muscle.
This condition typically occurs in adults in middle age (20-50 years of age) with a slight pred...
Calcifying epithelial odontogenic tumour, also known as a Pindborg tumour, is typically located in the premolar and molar region of the mandible, although up to a third are found in the maxilla.
Usually they are seen in the 4th to 6th decades. They are rare tumours.
A simple mnemonic to recall a list of commonly calcifying metastases is:
B: breast cancer
T: papillary thyroid cancer
O: ovarian cancer (especially mucinous)
M: mucinous adenocarcinoma (especially colorectal carcinoma)
Canadian C-spine rules are a set of guidelines that help a clinician decide if cervical spine imaging is not appropriate for a trauma patient in the emergency department. The patient must be alert and stable.
There are three rules:
is there any high-risk factor present that requires cervical s...
Capillary haemangiomas of the orbit, also known as strawberry haemangiomas, on account of its colouring, or orbital infantile haemangiomas, are the most common orbital tumours of infancy, and unlike orbital cavernous haemangiomas, they are neoplasms rather than vascular malformations.
The Capps triad refers to the constellation of clinical and imaging findings in patients with spontaneous retropharyngeal haematomas, and consists of:
tracheal and oesophageal compression
anterior displacement of the trachea
subcutaneous bruising over the neck and anterior chest
History and ...
Serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) is a cell-adhesive glycoprotein that was discovered in colorectal cancer in 1965, and is hence one of the oldest and most used tumour markers. Its name derives from its normal expression in fetoembryonic liver, gut and pancreas tissue.
Normal range of CEA is...
Carcinogens are substances known to cause cancer. They include:
Nasopharynx / nasal passage
ionising radiation (not technically a substance)
polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)
Carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma is the most common of three malignant mixed tumours of salivary glands, and are thought to arise from pre-existing pleomorphic adenomas (or benign mixed tumours) 1.
These tumours usually occur in older patients (6th to 8th decade), who have had a p...
Carcinosarcomas are highly malignant biphasic tumours with both carcinomatous (epithelial) and sarcomatous (bone, cartilage, or skeletal muscle) components.
It can arise in many organs:
lung 5: pulmonary carcinosarcoma
oesophagus 1: oesophageal carcinosarcoma
genitourinary tract ...
The carina is part of the trachea and is an important reference point in chest imaging.
The carina is found at the base of the trachea and it is formed as the main bronchi divide into right and left branches.
The carina usually sits in the T4/T5 plane and is at the level of the ...
Caroticocavernous fistulas (CCF) represent abnormal communication between the carotid circulation and the cavernous sinus. They can be classified as direct or indirect which are separate conditions with different aetiologies.
Direct CCFs are often secondary to trauma, and as suc...
The caroticotympanic branch (tympanic branch) is a small branch from the C2 segment of the internal carotid artery. It is a vestigial remnant of the hyoid artery.
It passes posterolaterally into the middle ear cavity and anastomoses with the inferior tympanic artery (a branch of the external ca...
The carotid bifurcation is the point at which the common carotid artery terminates. As it does so, it forms the internal and external carotid arteries which go on to supply the head and neck.
It is closely related anatomically to the carotid body, a small group of chemoreceptors and supporting ...
The carotid body is located within the neck, and in close proximity to the carotid bifurcation. It is composed of a number of chemoreceptor cells and supporting matrix and detects changes in the composition of blood in the common carotid as it forms the internal and external carotid arteries.
Carotid body tumour, also known as a chemodectoma or carotid body paraganglioma, is a highly vascular glomus tumour that arises from the paraganglion cells of the carotid body. It is located at the carotid bifurcation with characteristic splaying of the ICA and ECA.
The carotid canal is a passage within the petrous temporal bone and transmits the internal carotid artery and sympathetic plexus. Its inferior opening is called the carotid foramen and is situated anteriorly to the jugular fossa and medially to the tympanic plate. The carotid canal is initially ...
The carotid space is one of the seven deep compartments of the head and neck.
The carotid space is a roughly cylindrical space that extends from the skull base through to the aortic arch. It is circumscribed by all three layers of the deep cervical fascia, forming the carotid sh...
The carotid triangle is one of the paired triangles in the anterior triangle of the neck. The triangles of the neck are surgically focussed, first described from early dissection-based anatomical studies which predated cross-sectional anatomical description based on imaging (see deep spaces of t...
Carotidynia, also known as Fay syndrome, is a rare syndrome characterised by neck pain in the region of the carotid bifurcation.
There is confusion in the literature as to what this term actually refers to, with some authors suggesting that the term should be reserved for a pain syndrome with n...
Castleman disease, also known as angiofollicular lymph node hyperplasia or giant lymph node hyperplasia, is an uncommon benign B-cell lymphoproliferative condition. It can affect several regions of the body although commonly described as a solitary mediastinal mass.
There are two distinct subty...
Cataract is an opacification or thickening of the lens within the globe and is the leading cause of blindness in the world 2.
Visual deterioration occurs with increasing degrees of severity. The diagnosis is made clinically.
Common causes include:
Cavernous sinus thrombosis (CST) is a rare condition, most commonly infectious in nature, and the diagnosis on imaging is not always straightforward. It has high mortality and morbidity rates.
CST is rare with ~4.5 cases per 1,000,000 per year 5. It is the least common dural venou...
Cebocephaly refers to a type of rare midline craniofacial anomaly where there is a single nostril (which usually ends blindly 6-7) with proboscis-like nose 8 and hypotelorism.
holoprosencephaly: particularly alobar holoprosencephaly
Cementoblastoma is one of many mandibular lesions is a rare tumour of the cementum, with only approximately 100 cases reported. Key to diagnosis both radiologically and histologically is attachment to the tooth root.
Cementoblastomas have been previously described in the literatur...
Cemento-osseous dysplasia (COD) is a benign condition that can affect jaw. They may arise from the fibroblasts of the periodontal ligaments.
Three types have been described
periapical cemental dysplasia
focal cemento-osseous dysplasia
florid cemento-osseous dysplasia
2005 WHO his...
Cemento-ossifying fibroma (COF) are rare, benign neoplasms that usually arise from the mandible or maxilla. They most often arise from the tooth bearing areas of these bones.
In the 2005 WHO histological classification of odontogenic tumours, this tumour is referred to as "ossifyin...
The central artery of the retina or central retinal artery (CRA) arises from the ophthalmic artery.
The central artery of the retina courses anteriorly and inferior to the optic nerve, It then pierces the dura and the arachnoid of the optic nerve. It then runs in the centre of t...
Cervical lymph node groups describe the anatomic position of the nodes. It differs from cervical lymph node levels, covering all lymph nodes not just those relevant to head and neck surgery.
Groups described in the literature include but are not limited to:
Cervical lymph node staging is important in a variety of tumours, especially squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
TNM nodal staging
Nodal staging is the same for squamous cell carcinomas of most regions of the upper aerodigestive tract of the head and neck, including those of the of t...
The cervical plexus is formed by the ventral (anterior) rami of the C1 to C5 nerve roots and innervates the diaphragm, provides motor supply to some neck muscles and cutaneous sensation to the skin of the head, neck and chest.
anterior rami of C1 to C5 nerves
Chamberlain line is a line joining the back of hard palate with the opisthion on a lateral view of the craniocervical junction.
It helps to recognise basilar invagination which is said to be present if the tip of the dens is >3 mm above this line.
McGregor developed a modificatio...
Charcot-Leyden crystals consist of collections of bipyramidal crystalloid made up of eosinophilic membrane proteins, which occur in:
other eosinophilic lung disease 2
certain cases of sinusitis (e.g. allergic fungal sinusitis)
They may be detected in the sputum or sinus secretions wi...
Cherubism has historically been considered a variant of fibrous dysplasia, but in reality is likely a distinct entity.
Cherubism is a rare disorder and the precise incidence is unknown. It is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern 2 and has variable penetrance, with onset in ...
Choanal atresia refers to a lack of formation of the choanal openings. It can be unilateral or bilateral.
It frequently presents in neonates where it is one of the commonest causes of nasal obstruction in this age group. There is a recognised female predilection. The incidence is ...
Cholesteatoma is histologically equivalent to an epidermoid cyst and is composed of desquamated keratinizing stratified squamous epithelium forming a mass. They usually present with conductive hearing loss.
The mass is lined by epithelium (facing inwards) which continues to grow, the...
Chondrosarcomas of the base of the skull are rare compared with other skull base tumours but are an important differential diagnosis as surgical resection and management are affected by the preoperative diagnosis.
Chondrosarcomas of the base of the skull make up only a small fract...
The Chorda tympani is a nerve that arises from the mastoid segment of the facial nerve, carrying afferent special sensation from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue via the lingual nerve, as well as efferent parasympathetic secretomotor innervation to the submandibular and sublingual glands.
Chorioretinal lacunae refer to punched out lesions in pigmented layer of retina, usually around the optic disc. It is a considered a consistent feature of Aicardi syndrome.
A choristoma is simply a collection of microscopically normal cells or tissues in an abnormal location. This is different to a hamartoma which is derived only from local tissues.
adrenal choristoma (myelolipoma)
facial nerve choristoma
Choroidal detachment is a detachment of the choroid from the underlying sclera due to increased intraocular pressure (IOP), and occurs in some settings:
exudative: fluid accumulating in the suprachoroidal space secondary to many causes, most commonly inflammation (e.g. uve...
A choroidal effusion is an accumulation of fluid in the supra-choroidal space (between the choroid and sclera). It differs from a retinal detachment in its clinical presentation and radiologic appearance.
Choroidal effusions can be associated with :
ocular hypotony : small globe with a charact...
Choroidal osteomas are rare benign calcific masses of the globe.
Choroidal osteomas are typically found in young Caucasian women 1. A number of familial cases have been reported 3.
These lesions are usually unilateral (75%), and result in painless and gra...
Chronic invasive fungal sinusitis (CIFS) is a form of invasive fungal sinusitis.
The condition has a more prolonged course than acute invasive fungal sinusitis, usually more than 12 weeks 5. Patients are usually immunocompetent or have a milder level of immunocompromise....
Chronic otomastoiditis (COM) should be considered a separate entity from acute otomastoiditis, and is defined as persistent or recurrent inflammation of the middle ear and mastoid, lasting usually for a minimum of 12 weeks, and resulting in permanent perforation of the tympanic membrane.
Chronic otomastoiditis with ossicular erosions (aka) non cholesteatomatous ossicular erosion or post inflammatory ossicular erosions is defined by the erosive changes involving the ossicles in the absence of cholesteatoma in patient with history of chronic otomastoiditis.
Chronic otomastoiditis with tympanosclerosis represents calcific or bony middle ear foci secondary to suppurative chronic otomastoiditis.
Common locations of calcifications include:
Chronic sinusitis refers to ongoing long term sinus infection-inflammation that often develops secondary to a prolonged/refractory acute sinus infection.
It most commonly affects young to middle-aged adults but can uncommonly affect children.
deviated nasal ...
Chvostek sign is the facial twitch obtained by tapping the distribution of the facial nerve in front of the tragus. It is caused by mechanical irritability of peripheral nerves. It is indicative of hypocalcemia and is the most reliable test for hypocalcemia.
The ciliary ganglion is one of four parasympathetic ganglia of the head and neck. It receives parasympathetic fibres from the oculomotor nerve.
smallest of the ganglia (2mm in size)
located posterolaterally in the intraconal space of the orbit (towards the orbital apex) between ...
Cirsoid aneurysms are rare arteriovenous malformations of the scalp and extremities.
Patients often present with a slow-growing pulsatile mass and may also experience bleeding, tinnitus and/or a headache 3.
Cirsoid aneurysms develop due to an abnormal arteri...
Cleft palate is a type of facial cleft. It can occur in two main aetiologically different forms:
in association with a cleft lip: cleft lip +/- palate (much commoner)
on its own: isolated cleft palate (rarer)
The differential of a mass involving or arising from the clivus is a relatively narrow one and can be divided into whether the lesion arises from the skull base itself, from the intracranial compartment or from below the base of skull.
When evaluating the clivus it is important to compare the...
The clivus is the sloping midline surface of the occipital bone anterior to the foramen magnum. Specifically it is located in the basiocciput. At the clivus, the occipital bone has articulations with the sphenoid and petrous part of temporal bone1.
Inferiorly the clivus is flanked be the rounde...
Cloquet's canal, also known as the hyaloid canal or Stilling's canal, is a transparent canal that runs from the optic nerve disc to the lens traversing the vitreous body. It serves as a perivascular sheath surrounding the hyaloid artery in the embryonic eye.
Cloverleaf skull, also known as kleeblattschädel, refers to a type of severe craniosynostosis which gives the skull a cloverleaf shape. It is very rare, with less than 130 case reports globally. It typically results from intrauterine premature closure of the sagittal, coronal and lambdoid suture...
CNS aspergillosis results from angioinvasive infection of the central nervous system by the fungus Aspergillus spp. Along with CNS cryptococcosis, it is one of the most common fungal opportunistic infections of the central nervous system.
The disease predominates in immunocompromi...
Coalescent mastoiditis is simply the term given to acute otomastoiditis when mucoperiosteal disease extends to involve the bone. The septae which normally separate one mastoid air cell from another are resorbed. This change is only easily appreciated on thin section bone-algorithm through the te...
The Coca-Cola bottle sign refers to the appearance of the muscles of the orbit in thyroid eye disease. The belly of the muscle enlarges with sparing of the tendinous insertion, giving the appearance of the traditional Coca-Cola bottle.
The enlargement of the muscles follows the I'M SLOW format...
Coccidioidomycosis refers to an infection caused by the dimorphic fungus Coccidioides spp, usually localised to the lungs. This disease is not to be confused with the similarly named paracoccidioidomycosis.
The most common forms of Coccidioides spp are Coccidioides immitis and Coc...
The cochlea is part of the inner ear osseous labyrinth found in the petrous temporal bone.
The cochlea is a shell-shaped spiral that turns between two-and-a-half and two-and-three-quarters times around the modiolus (a central column of porous bone).
The spiral of the cochlea is...
Cochlear anomalies are a variety of congenital anomalies which, depending on the exact time at which an insult occurs during embryogenesis, may have different manifestations. Terminology is often used imprecisely leading to confusion not only among clinicians, but also in the literature.
Cochlear aplasia, or complete absence of the cochlea is a rare anomaly which accounts for only 3% of cochlear malformations.1
complete absence of the cochlea. Dense otic bone is seen at the anatomical site of the cochlea 2
cochlear nerve canal and cochlear nerve are abse...
Cochlear hypoplasia is defined by small underdeveloped cochlea <2 turns.
a small cochlear bud of variable length (usually 1–3 mm). It has only one turn or a partial turn is seen
cochlear nerve often hypoplastic or absent
cochlear nerve canal: absent, narrow or normal
Cochlear implants (CI) are a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. Unlike conventional hearing aids, the cochlear implant does not amplify sound, but works by directly stimulating any functioning audi...
Cochlear incomplete partition is a group of cochlear malformations associated with variable degree of inner ear architecture defects.
It is classified in three groups:
cochlear incomplete partition type I (IP-I)
a severe form of IP-I is known as cystic cochleovestibular malformation
Cochlear incomplete partition type I (IP-I) is a type of cochlear anomaly associated with sensorineural hearing loss.
The main findings on CT are:
absent interscalar septum
wide (most common) or normal cochlear nerve canal
Absence of these structu...
Cochlear incomplete partition type II (IP-II) is a type of cochlear anomaly associated with sensorineural hearing loss.
It should not be confused with Mondini anomaly, which his an historic term for a combination of IP-II and large vestibular aqueduct.
On CT, the co...
Cochlear incomplete partition type III (IP-III), also termed X-linked deafness, is a rare type of genetic cochlear anomaly associated with mixed conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
It is caused a mutation in the POU3F4 gene located on the X chromosome.
The cochlear promontory is the name given to the bone that overlies the basal turn of the cochlea protruding into the middle ear cavity.
glomus tympanicum paragangliomas typically arise in the region of the cochlear promonotory
Cogan syndrome is a rare vasculitis of children and young adults which primarily characterised by 1,4,6:
inflammatory eye disease (ocular keratitis, uveitis, scleritis, optic neuritis) 6
audiovestibular symptoms (similar to Meniere disease) 6
However, it can potentially affect a multitude of ...
COL4A1-related disorders are a group of autosomal dominant disorders caused by a mutation in the COL4A1 gene.
The exact prevalence is unknown, but the group of disorders is considered to be under-recognised, especially asymptomatic variants 1.
The clinical ...
Collet-Sicard syndrome is a constellation of cranial nerve palsies due to a lesion at the jugular foramen such as a glomus jugulare tumour or schwannoma. It consists of :
Vernet syndrome, consisting of motor paralysis of
glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX)
vagus nerve (CN X)
accessory nerve (CN X...
The colliscalene triangle is an important anatomical region of the neck, situated medial to the scalenus anterior muscle.
medial: lateral border of longus colli
lateral: medial border of scalenus anterior
inferior: first part of the subclavian artery
apex: carotid ...
Colloid nodules are non-neoplastic benign nodules occurring within the thyroid gland. They form the vast majority of nodular thyroid disease.
Colloid nodules are composed of irregularly enlarged follicles containing abundant colloid. Some colloid nodules can be cystic (cystic colloid...
Coloboma is collective term encompassing any focal discontinuity in the structure of the eye, and should not be confused with staphylomas, which are due to choroidal thinning.
Most commonly colobomas are due to failure of closure of the choroidal fissure posteriorly. Typically colob...
The columella is the inferior portion of the nasal septum. It is a single midline structure composed of cartilage and overlying skin, the lateral aspects of which form the medial wall of each nostril.
History and etymology
From the Latin word for little column.
The common carotid artery is a paired structure that supplies blood to the head and neck.
left: branch of the aortic arch
right: branch of the brachiocephalic trunk
course: posterior to sternoclavicular joint, lateral to thyroid and trachea
supply: head and neck
Common cavity malformation is defined by the absence of the normal differentiation between the cochlea and vestibule replaced by cystic structure. It accounts for about 25% of cochlear malformations 1.
confluence of the cochlea, vestibule and horizontal SCC in a cystic c...
The common facial vein is formed by the joining of the facial vein and anterior branch of the retromandibular vein. It is part of the venous drainage system of the face.
origin and termination: the facial vein (along with the facial artery) pierces the deep investing fascia of the neck...
Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) is a condition that is associated with an impaired immune system. It is considered the most common symptomatic primary immunodeficiency, and is characterised by recurrent respiratory tract infections.
The commonest presentation is t...
Complex midfacial fractures consist of multiple facial fractures that cannot be classified as any of the defined complex facial fracture (e.g. Le Fort fracture, zygomaticomaxillary complex fracture, naso-orbital-ethmoid fracture).
A handy mnemonic to recall the complications of transverse and longitudinal petrous temporal bone fractures is:
listen carefully to something funny
listen carefully = longitudinal / conductive hearing loss
to something funny = transverse / sensorineural hearing loss and facial nerve...
Concha bullosa (also known as middle turbinate pneumatisation) is a common finding and although associated with deviation of the nasal septum, it is usually of little clinical importance.
Concha bullosa is a normal variant and is one of the most common variations of sinonasal anat...
Conductive hearing loss is caused by a range of developmental, congenital or acquired pathology to the external, middle or inner ear.
Essentially any process that obstructs or disrupts the passage of sound waves through the outer or middle ear can cause conductive hearing loss and th...
The condylar canal, or canalis condylaris, is a skull base canal in the posterior cranial fossa, located in the condylar fossa.
location: in the condylar fossa of the posterior cranial fossa, posterior to the occipital condyles
emissary veins, connecting the sigmoid sinus to...
Condylar process fractures are fractures of the condylar process of the mandible. The condylar process of the mandible is involved in around 30% of all mandibular fractures.
Condylar fractures are classified according to the location of the fracture and the direction displacement of the condyle...
Congenital absence of the internal carotid artery (ICA) is a rare anomaly that occurs in less than 0.01% of the population. It encompasses agenesis, aplasia, and hypoplasia 1.
The most common type of collateral flow is through the circle of Willis, through the anterior communicating artery (ACO...
Congenital calvarial defects are a group of disorders characterised by congenital calvarial bone defects that vary in severity.
CT with 3D shaded surface reformats is the best imaging tool as it demonstrates calvarial defects and bone margins:
Congenital cataracts are a major cause of blindness with early detection the most important factor in reducing impact on future vision.
Incidence is ~3 per 100,000 in the United Kingdom 1. Will be higher in areas with increased rates of congenital infection 5.
Congenital cervical teratoma refers to a teratoma arising in the cervical region. They are thought to account for ~3% of teratomas in childhood/infancy 3.
The estimated occurrence in neonates is ~1:20,000-40,000 live births 8.
Most tumours are diagnosed at ...