Medical and surgical treatment of peritonsillar, retropharyngeal, and parapharyngeal abscesses

  • Fred S. Herzon
  • Angela D. Martin


Peritonsillar, retropharyngeal, and parapharyngeal abscesses are the most common deep cervical fascial space infections. Most develop secondary to an oropharyngeal or dental infection. Additional factors such as smoking and periodontal disease may also contribute to the formation of a peritonsillar abscess. The CT scan is used to con.rm the presence of deep neck abscesses, but its accuracy has some limitations. Adequate drainage with accompanying antimicrobial therapy and hydration are the cornerstones of management. Catheter or needle drainage of these abscesses may provide an alternative to open procedures and is the drainage method of choice for peritonsillar abscesses. However, in selected cases, medical therapy alone, especially in children, can resolve parapharyngeal and hypopharyngeal abscesses. Ancillary use of steroids reduces morbidity in patients with a peritonsillar abscess and there is a limited but useful place for immediate tonsillectomy in the treatment of this disease.


Needle Aspiration Conscious Sedation Surgical Drainage Minor Salivary Gland Neck Infection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Current Science Inc 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of New Mexico Medical SchoolAlbuquerqueUSA

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