Peritonsillar abscess (tonsillar abscess)
General or Other | - Others | Peritonsillar abscess (tonsillar abscess) (Disease)
A peritonsillar abscess forms in the tissues of the throat next to one of the tonsils. An abscess is a collection of pus that forms near an area of infected skin or other soft tissue.
Causes and Risk factors
The abscess can cause pain, swelling, and, if severe, blockage of the throat. If the throat is blocked, swallowing, speaking, and even breathing become difficult. A peritonsillar abscess is most often a complication of tonsillitis. The bacteria involved are similar to those that cause strep throat.
Streptococcal bacteria most commonly cause an infection in the soft tissue around the tonsils (usually just on one side). The tissue is then invaded by anaerobes (bacteria that can live without oxygen), which enter through nearby glands. Dental infection (such as the gum infections periodontitis and gingivitis) may be a risk factor.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Treatment is, as for all abscesses, through surgical incision and drainage of the pus, thereby relieving the pain of the pressed tissues. Antibiotics are also given to treat the infection. Internationally, the infection is frequently penicillin resistant, so it is now common to treat with clyndamicin. Treatment can also be given while a patient is under anesthesia, but this is usually reserved for children or anxious patients.