Jugular Foramen Syndrome
The glossopharyngeal (IX), vagus (X), and accessory (XI) cranial nerves may be damaged by lesions at or around the jugular foramen, producing a jugular foramen (or Vernet’s) syndrome. This produces:
- Dysphagia, dysphonia, palatal droop, impaired gag reflex; ipsilateral reduced taste sensation on the posterior one third of the tongue, and anesthesia of the posterior one third of the tongue, soft palate, pharynx, larynx and uvula, due to glossopharyngeal and vagus nerve involvement.
- Ipsilateral weakness and atrophy of sternocleidomastoid and trapez- ius due to accessory nerve involvement (atrophy may be the more evi- dent, hence the importance of palpating the muscle bellies).
Recognized causes of the jugular foramen syndrome include: Skull base trauma/fracture
Glomus jugulare tumor
Inflammatory/infective collection at the skull base Ischemia.
The differential diagnosis includes retropharyngeal or retroparotid space occupying lesions, which may in addition involve the hypoglossal nerve (XII; Collet-Sicard syndrome) and the sympathetic chain with or without the facial nerve (VII; Villaret’s syndrome).