Cervical sympathetic chain schwannoma

Mark K. Wax, Samuel G. Shiley, Jamie L. Robinson, Jane L. Weissman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Objectives: Schwannomas are benign, slow-growing tumors that arise from nerves. Those originating from the sympathetic cervical chain are rare. We describe our experience with the clinical presentation, surgical management, and outcomes of patients with this pathology. Study Design: Retrospective chart review of a case series in a tertiary referral center. Methods: Four cases of cervical sympathetic chain schwannomas were reviewed. Patients presented with either an asymptomatic neck mass discovered on routine physical examination (1 patient), an enlarging neck mass (2), or an acute onset of a Horner's syndrome (1). All patients underwent preoperative imaging (magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, or both). Results: The location and soft-tissue characteristics of the mass, along with displacement of the carotid sheath vessels, were typical of a cervical sympathetic chain schwannoma. All patients underwent surgical excision of the mass. Postoperative Horner's syndrome was encountered in all patients. First bite syndrome was encountered in two patients. Conclusions: Cervical sympathetic chain schwannomas are rare tumors. Preoperative imaging characteristics facilitate the diagnosis. First bite syndrome can occur and may be debilitating postoperatively. Long-term prognosis is excellent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2210-2213
Number of pages4
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Neck mass
  • Parapharyngeal space
  • Schwannomas
  • Sympathetic nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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