Esophageal tear in a patient undergoing stereotactic brain biopsy under general anesthesia

Jason E. York, Robert E. Wharen, Eric L. Bloomfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Injuries of the esophagus with resultant mediastinitis have been reported following endotracheal intubation. Herein, we report a case of esophageal perforation that resulted from difficulty with intubation in a patient with a stereotactic head frame. A 52-year-old woman underwent a stereotactic brain biopsy of a left temporal tumor. After a stereotactic head frame was applied, intubation for anesthesia required three attempts. On postoperative day 2, she complained of worsening dysphagia and chest pain. A 4-mm tear in the right posterior cervical esophagus was discovered and repaired. Esophageal perforation may arise from limited neck extension imposed by a stereotactic head frame. Unexplained dysphagia postoperatively is the hallmark of this rare complication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)432-435
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Anesthesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Brain biopsy
  • Dysphagia
  • Esophageal perforation
  • Intubation
  • Mediastinitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Esophageal tear in a patient undergoing stereotactic brain biopsy under general anesthesia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this