Korean J Otorhinolaryngol-Head Neck Surg.  2022 Nov;65(11):713-717. 10.3342/kjorl-hns.2022.00192.

A Case of Grisel’s Syndrome Following Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy

  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, Kangwon National University Hospital, Chuncheon, Korea
  • 2Department of Otolaryngology, School of Medicine, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon, Korea


Grisel’s syndrome is a non-traumatic atlantoaxial rotatory subluxation for which the underlying mechanism has not yet been identified. It is known to occur following upper respiratory infections, tonsillitis, ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeries such as tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. The diagnosis of Grisel’s syndrome can be made by plain x-ray, CT scanning, and/or MRI scanning. The first choice of treatment is conservative therapy such as bed rest, muscle relaxation, analgesic therapy, antibiotics, and simple traction. While Grisel’s syndrome occurs rarely, delayed treatment may lead to neurological complications or requires surgical treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment are important in preventing fatal outcome. We report the case of a 9-year-old male who developed Grisel’s syndrome after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.


Adenoidectomy; Atlanto-axial joint; Neck pain; Postoperative complications; Tonsillectomy
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