Case contributed by RMH Core Conditions


Five days sore throat. Significant anterior neck tenderness and decreased neck movement - ?abscess.

Patient Data

Age: 48
Gender: Female

The palatine tonsils are enlarged and hyperaemic bilaterally. There is low density oedematous change within the parapharyngeal mucosal space, which causes mild narrowing of the upper oropharyngeal airway, and asymmetry of the hypopharynx, particularly on the left with asymmetry of the piriform fossa. No frank abscess formation is evident. The retropharyngeal space is unremarkable at this stage with, no evidence of a retropharyngeal abscess. A number of enlarged, probably reactive level 2 deep cervical lymph nodes are present bilaterally in addition to scattered smaller level 5 nodes bilaterally. Normal appearance of the parotid glands, and major cervical vessels.

Conclusion:  Appearances are in keeping with clinical history of tonsilitis with associated inflammatory/oedematous changes. No evidence of suppuration or abscess at this stage.

Case Discussion

Tonsillitis is a common presenting complaint to the emergency department. Most often it does not require imaging as part of its work-up unless there are concerns over abscess formation. 

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Case information

rID: 26242
Published: 8th Dec 2013
Last edited: 6th Mar 2016
System: Head & Neck
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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