The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Clinical Records

Foreign body sensation in the throat due to displacement of the superior cornu of the thyroid cartilage: two cases and a literature review

S K Nadig a1c1 , Uppal a1 , G W Back a1 , A P Coatesworth a1 and A R H Grace a1
a1 Department of ENT, York District Hospital, York, UK

Article author query
nadig sk   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
uppal s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
back gw   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
coatesworth ap   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
grace ar   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The sensation of a foreign body in the throat when swallowing is a common and very discomforting symptom for those who experience it. Common causes are gastroesophageal reflux disease and possibly upper oesophageal dysmotility. This complaint may be dismissed as psychogenic when a cause for the problem is not readily apparent.

We present two cases in which the patient had a foreign body sensation in the throat, associated with a dry swallow. The most helpful diagnostic procedure was careful examination of the hypopharynx and neck and flexible fibre-optic rhinolaryngoscopy. One case was treated with surgery of the neck and larynx to trim the medially projecting superior cornu of the thyroid cartilage. Surgery was successful in eliminating the symptoms.

Although an uncommon finding, our experience is that symptoms due to a medially displaced thyroid cornu should be considered in the differential diagnosis as an important and surgically correctable cause of persistent foreign body sensation at the hyoid level in the neck.

(Published Online May 9 2006)
(Accepted November 29 2005)

Key Words: Thyroid Cartilage; Pharynx; Endoscopic Surgical Procedures.

c1 Address for correspondence: Mr Shri Nadig, Department of ENT, York District Hospital, Wigginton Road, York YO31 8HE, UK. Fax: 01904 726 347 E-mail: