Variability in the position of the retropharyngeal internal carotid artery
Carotid Artery, Internal
The retropharyngeal internal carotid artery (ICA) is a well-described arterial anomaly with important implications for patients undergoing pharyngeal approach surgical procedures. Existing clinical and imaging classification schemes for a retropharyngeal ICA take into account arterial distance to the pharyngeal mucosal wall. We describe a case of mobility of a retropharyngeal ICA between short-interval imaging studies. The possibility of respiratory variability or other etiologies causing such changes in retropharyngeal carotid position have not been described previously. Our findings suggest that imaging findings from a single study alone may not be sufficient to confidently exclude this clinically significant arterial anomaly.