Peritonsillar abscess – critical analysis of abscess tonsillectomy

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Philipps University of Marburg, Germany
Clinical Otolaryngology (Impact Factor: 2.39). 09/2003; 28(5):420 - 424. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2273.2003.00736.x

ABSTRACT The risk of secondary haemorrhage following abscess tonsillectomy is reported in the literature with differing rates. A retro- and prospective analysis of complication rates following abscess tonsillectomy was conducted in 142 patients (54 females, 88 males; mean age: 35 years). In 22% of patients, a secondary haemorrhage occurred. In half of these (11% of total), the haemorrhage had to be treated surgically. Secondary haemorrhage occurred most commonly on the 6th and 8th postoperative days. Reports in the literature are not in unison about the risk of secondary haemorrhage following abscess tonsillectomy and therefore allow no final judgement about an objective risk of this complication. This report strengthens the results of the ‘Comparative Audit Service’ analysis from 1997, which did show a high risk of secondary haemorrhage following tonsillectomy, as well as following abscess tonsillectomy.

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    ABSTRACT: IntroductionPeritonsillar infection is the most frequent complication of acute tonsillitis. Peritonsillar infections are collections of purulent material, usually located between the tonsillar capsule and the superior constrictor of the pharynx. Peritonsillar infection can be divided into abscess and cellulitis.Material and methodsWe prospectively analysed the clinical data from 100 patients with peritonsillar infection from 2008 to 2010. The diagnosis of abscess or peritonsillar cellulitis was primarily based on obtaining pus through fine-needle aspiration.ResultsSeventy-seven per cent of patients had no history of recurrent tonsillitis and 55% were receiving antibiotic treatment. Sixty-two cases were peritonsillar abscess and the rest were cellulitis. Trismus, uvular deviation and anterior pillar bulging were statistically associated with peritonsillar abscess (P<.005). All patients were admitted to hospital and treated with puncture-drainage, intravenous antibiotics (amoxicillin/clavulanate in 83% of cases) and a single dose of steroids. All patients were discharged on oral antibiotic therapy. The mean length of hospital stay was 3 days and the recurrence rate was 5%.Conclusions Due to the absence of clinical practice guidelines, there are different therapeutic protocols. According to our experience, puncture-aspiration and administration of intravenous antibiotics is a safe, effective way to treat these patients. To determine the efficacy and safety of outpatient management, controlled studies would be needed.
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