BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuPeritonsillar abscessQuinsy; Abscess - peritonsillar; Tonsillitis - abscessPeritonsillar abscess is a collection of infected material in the area around the tonsils. Causes Peritonsillar abscess is a complication of tonsillitis. It is most often caused by a type of bacteria called group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus.TonsillitisTonsillitis is inflammation (swelling) of the tonsils.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Peritonsillar abscess most often occurs in older children, adolescents, and young adults. The condition is rare now that antibiotics are used to treat tonsillitis. Symptoms One or both tonsils become infected. The infection most often spreads to around the tonsil. It can then spread down into the neck and chest. Swollen tissues can block the airway. This is a life-threatening medical emergency.The abscess can break open (rupture) into the throat. The content of the abscess can travel into the lungs and cause pneumonia.Symptoms of peritonsillar abscess include:Fever and chills Severe throat pain that is usually on one side Ear pain on the side of the abscess Difficulty opening the mouth, and pain with opening the mouth Swallowing problems Drooling or inability to swallow saliva DroolingDrooling is saliva flowing outside the mouth.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Facial or neck swelling Fever FeverFever is the temporary increase in the body's temperature in response to a disease or illness. A child has a fever when the temperature is at or abov...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Headache HeadacheA headache is pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck. Serious causes of headaches are rare. Most people with headaches can feel much better...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Muffled voice Tender glands of the jaw and throat Neck stiffness Exams and Tests An exam of the throat often shows swelling on one side and on the roof of the mouth.The uvula in the back of the throat may be shifted away from the swelling. The neck and throat may be red and swollen on one or both sides.The following tests may be done:Aspiration of the abscess using a needle AspirationAspiration means to draw in or out using a sucking motion. It has two meanings:Breathing in a foreign object (sucking food into the airway). A medic...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article CT scan CT scanA computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create pictures of cross-sections of the body. Related tests include:Abdomin...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Fiber optic endoscopy to check if the airway is blockedFiber optic endoscopyEndoscopy is a way of looking inside the body using a flexible tube that has a small camera and light on the end of it. This instrument is called an...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Treatment The infection can be treated with antibiotics if it is caught early. If an abscess has developed, it will need to be drained with a needle or by cutting it open. You will be given pain medicine before this is done.If the infection is very severe, the tonsils will be removed at the same time the abscess is drained, but this is rare. In this case, you will have general anesthesia so you will be asleep and pain-free. Outlook (Prognosis) In most cases, peritonsillar abscess goes away with treatment. The infection may return in the future. Possible Complications Complications may include:Airway obstruction Airway obstructionBreathing difficulty may involve:Difficult breathing Uncomfortable breathingFeeling like you are not getting enough airImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Cellulitis of the jaw, neck, or chest CellulitisCellulitis is a common skin infection caused by bacteria. It affects the middle layer of the skin (dermis) and the tissues below. Sometimes, muscle...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Endocarditis (rare) EndocarditisEndocarditis is inflammation of the inside lining of the heart chambers and heart valves (endocardium). It is caused by a bacterial or, rarely a fun...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion) Pleural effusionA pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Inflammation around the heart (pericarditis) PericarditisPericarditis is a condition in which the sac-like covering around the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Pneumonia PneumoniaPneumonia is a breathing (respiratory) condition in which there is an infection of the lung. This article covers community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Sepsis (infection in the blood)SepsisSepsis is an illness in which the body has a severe, inflammatory response to bacteria or other germs.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article When to Contact a Medical Professional Contact your health care provider right away if you have had tonsillitis and you develop symptoms of peritonsillar abscess.Contact your provider if you have:Breathing problems Trouble swallowing Pain in the chest Persistent fever Symptoms that get worse Prevention Quick treatment of tonsillitis, especially if it is caused by bacteria, may help prevent this condition.Open ReferencesReferencesMelio FR. Upper respiratory tract infections. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 65.Pappas DE, Hendley JO. Retropharyngeal abscess, lateral pharyngeal (parapharyngeal) abscess, and peritonsillar cellulitis/abscess. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 410.Waage RK. Peritonsillar abscess drainage. In: Fowler GC, ed. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 206.AllVideoImagesTogLymphatic system - illustration The lymphatic system filters fluid from around cells. It is an important part of the immune system. When people refer to swollen glands in the neck, they are usually referring to swollen lymph nodes. Common areas where lymph nodes can be easily felt, especially if they are enlarged, are the groin, armpits (axilla), above the clavicle (supraclavicular), in the neck (cervical), and the back of the head just above hairline (occipital).Lymphatic systemillustrationThroat anatomy - illustration Structures of the throat include the esophagus, trachea, epiglottis and tonsils.Throat anatomyillustrationLymphatic system - illustration The lymphatic system filters fluid from around cells. It is an important part of the immune system. When people refer to swollen glands in the neck, they are usually referring to swollen lymph nodes. Common areas where lymph nodes can be easily felt, especially if they are enlarged, are the groin, armpits (axilla), above the clavicle (supraclavicular), in the neck (cervical), and the back of the head just above hairline (occipital).Lymphatic systemillustrationThroat anatomy - illustration Structures of the throat include the esophagus, trachea, epiglottis and tonsils.Throat anatomyillustration Tests for Peritonsillar abscess Indium-labelled WBC scanRelated Information Retropharyngeal abscess(Condition)Tonsillitis(Condition)Abscess(Condition)Cellulitis(Condition)Community-acquired pneumonia in adults(Condition)Pericarditis(Condition)Pleural effusion(Condition)Endocarditis(Condition)Breathing difficulty(Symptoms)Pneumonia(In-Depth) Review Date: 12/31/2020 Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 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