Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Abscess Tonsil Overview

Another name for Abscess Tonsil is Peritonsillar Abscess.

What is a peritonsillar abscess?
A person with a peritonsillar abscess has a collection of pus in the tissue near the tonsils, caused by a bacterial infection of the tonsils. Once the bacteria enter the tissue underneath the surface of the tonsil, the body forms an abscess in order to fight the infection. About 1 out of every 3,000 people develop a peritonsillar abscess each year in the US.

What are the symptoms of a peritonsillar abscess?
Symptoms of peritonsillar abscess include a severe sore throat, difficulty swallowing, inability to swallow, excessive drooling, fever, headache, hoarse voice, inability to open the mouth completely, and swollen glands in the neck.

How does the doctor treat a peritonsillar abscess?
Treatment for a peritonsillar abscess includes warm saltwater gargles, narcotic pain medications, antibiotics, and a procedure to drain pus from the abscess.

Continue to Abscess Tonsil Incidence

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Abscess Tonsil References
  1. Franzese CB, Isaacson JE. Peritonsillar and parapharyngeal space abscess in the older adult. Am J Otolaryngol. 2003 May-Jun;24(3):169-73. [12761704]
  2. Galioto NJ. Peritonsillar abscess. Am Fam Physician. 2008 Jan 15;77(2):199-202. [18246890]
  3. Johnson RF, Stewart MG, Wright CC. An evidence-based review of the treatment of peritonsillar abscess. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003 Mar;128(3):332-43. [12646835]
  4. Johnson RF, Stewart MG. The contemporary approach to diagnosis and management of peritonsillar abscess. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Jun;13(3):157-60. [15908813]
  5. Ozbek C, Aygenc E, Tuna EU, Selcuk A, Ozdem C. Use of steroids in the treatment of peritonsillar abscess. J Laryngol Otol. 2004 Jun;118(6):439-42. [15285862]
  6. Ozbek C, Aygenc E, Unsal E, Ozdem C. Peritonsillar abscess: a comparison of outpatient i.m. clindamycin and inpatient i.v. ampicillin/sulbactam following needle aspiration. Ear Nose Throat J. 2005 Jun;84(6):366-8. [16075861]
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