The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)

Eagle Syndrome in Two Forensic Anthropological Cases


Department of Justice Studies, Florida Gulf Coast University

Friday 36, Clinch Concourse Add to calendar

We present two forensic anthropology cases to shed light upon the etiology of Eagle Syndrome. Specifically, we provide detailed gross and radiographic skeletal analyses of two adult African American males evincing elongated (≥ 25mm) styloid processes to highlight how our contemporary cases break with current clinical findings; yet, align with bioarchaeological cemetery studies.

Our clinical literature review indicated that the pathogenesis of Eagle syndrome involves three (3) etiologies: post-traumatic ossification; developmental anatomic defect; and age related tendinosis of the stylohyoid ligament. Furthermore, computed-tomographic studies of symptomatic individuals showed that the condition was neither sex nor age related—a finding in contrast to several historic cemetery studies.

Our forensic anthropology cases revealed that in both instances, the manifestation of the elongated temporal styloid processes presented with antemortem trauma (i.e., healed unilateral styloid process fractures; healed cranial, clavicular, rib and fibular fractures); developmental defects of the axial skeleton; and age-related change. While the manifestation of the condition in our sample fit all three etiologies, the sex and age-related influence on the condition was supported; thereby lending support to the bioarchaeological cemetery studies while refuting clinical findings.

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