Peritonsillar abscess or quinsy is the most common deep neck infection.
Peritonsillar abscesses are most common in 20-40 year olds with a predominance for males and for smokers. It is less common in children but immunosuppression increases the risk of development 2-3.
Peritonsillar abscesses are a collection of pus that lies between the tonsillar capsule and superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle. It is generally thought to result as a complication of tonsillitis and thus has a similar clinical presentation and infective aetiology 4.
- 75% specific and 100% sensitive at diagnosing peritonsillar abscess 1
- rim-enhancing fluid collection within an enlarged and inflamed tonsil 1
Treatment and prognosis
Peritonsillar abscesses almost always require surgical aspiration or incision and drainage in comparison to tonsillitis, which is normally managed with antibiotics.
- 1. Capps EF, Kinsella JJ, Gupta M et-al. Emergency imaging assessment of acute, nontraumatic conditions of the head and neck. Radiographics. 2010;30 (5): 1335-52. Radiographics (full text) - doi:10.1148/rg.305105040 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Steyer TE. Peritonsillar abscess: diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65 (1): 93-6. Pubmed citation
- 3. Dunn N, Lane D, Everitt H et-al. Use of antibiotics for sore throat and incidence of quinsy. Br J Gen Pract. 2007;57 (534): 45-9. Free text at pubmed - Pubmed citation
- 4. Ong YK, Goh YH, Lee YL. Peritonsillar infections: local experience. Singapore Med J. 2004;45 (3): 105-9. Pubmed citation