Are you having trouble swallowing food or e or even while talking? You may be suffering from Peritonsillar Abscess, a painful inflammation of the tonsils.
What is Peritonsillar Abscess?
Picture 1 – Peritonsillar Abscess
Source – abbottnorthwestern
Peritonsillar Abscess is a complication of another disease called Tonsillitis, which is characterized by the swelling of the tonsils. It mainly occurs in the pharyngeal region or throat area. A Peritonsillar Abscess in young adults, adolescents and older children is known as Pharyngeal Abscess. Peritonsillar Abscess in children of very young age is referred to as a Retropharyngeal Abscess. Retropharyngeal Abscess is mainly seen in kids aged between 3 and 6 years.
Peritonsillar Abscess is a rare condition and affects only about 30 out of 100,000 people in the US. It is generally seen in people within 60 years of age. In Europe, Peritonsillar Abscesses are seen in 40 out of every 100,000 people.
Peritonsillar Abscess Location
A Peritonsillar Abscess arises in the tissues of the throat located beside the tonsils. In the early stages, one or both tonsils may get affected. In the advanced stages, the infection may spread over the palate (roof of the mouth) and go on to affect the neck and chest. The lungs may also get affected due to this.
Peritonsillar Abscess Symptoms
Some of the most prominent symptoms of Peritonsillar Abscess are :
The affected person may suffer from chills in the hands and feet.
Pain in Mouth
The patient usually has a pain in the mouth. In cases of severe pain it may be very difficult for the person to even open the mouth.
The inflammation of the tissues may cause the face to swell beyond comfort. The face takes a bloated appearance because of this.
If the tissues get too inflamed due to Peritonsillar Abscess formation, the airways may get blocked. The patient may have serious breathing difficulties in such cases.
Swollen Lymph Glands
The lymph glands in the neck may get enlarged due to swelling.
The sufferer may also experience increased body temperatures because of this condition. In patients with Peritonsillar Abscess fever is quite common.
Patients also suffer from a hoarse voice in some cases. The hoarseness may arise only occasionally and the voice quality is affected in such situations.
The person also commonly suffers from soreness in the throat. Peritonsillar Throat Abscess makes it very difficult to swallow foods and even liquid substances like water.
The condition may also cause saliva to flow from the mouth in some cases.
Peritonsillar Abscess Causes
Peritonsillar Abscess is generally caused by a kind of bacteria known as Group A Beta-hemolytic Streptococcus. An infection resulting from this bacteria leads to pus accumulation in the tender tissues of the tonsil region.
An untreated or partly treated case of acute tonsillitis can also lead to Peritonsillar Abscess. The Peritonsillar region of the throat, which comprises loose tissues, is affected in such cases. Pus accumulates in a localized region of the throat and gives rise to pain and swelling.
The condition also results from mononucleosis, an acute disorder that leads to fever, elevated white blood cell count and lymph node inflammation. In a few cases of Peritonsillar Abscess mononucleosis is seen as a causative agent.
In patients with Peritonsillar Abscess smoking can also be a cause. People who smoke a lot are at increased risk of developing Peritonsillar Abscess.
Peritonsillar Abscess Diagnosis
Picture 2 – Peritonsillar Abscess CT Scan
Source – ahcpub
For a diagnosis of Peritonsillar Abscess neck and throat are thoroughly examined. Tests like CT Scan are conducted to find out the extent of swelling. It is checked whether the inflammation is in one or both tonsils. It is also examined whether the swelling has affected the throat, neck and chest.
During diagnosis of Peritonsillar Abscess X Rays may also be carried out. Peritonsillar Abscess ultrasound tests are also conducted to rule out the presence of any other disease that affects the upper airways.
Sample of the tissues can also be removed for a biopsy. The process is known as aspiration.
The doctor may also carry out tests to make sure that the disease has not resulted from mononucleosis disease.
Peritonsillar Abscess Treatment and Drainage
A surgical procedure is usually adopted for the treatment of Peritonsillar Abscess. This involves Peritonsillar Abscess drainage to prevent complications in the near future. An experienced doctor numbs the skin area around the abscess. Then the pus is either taken out with a needle or a cut is made on the abscess to drain out the liquid. Peritonsillar pus removal with needle is known as Peritonsillar Abscess Aspiration or Peritonsillar Abscess needle aspiration.
In many cases, the abscess removal is followed by a tonsillectomy is performed to surgically remove the tonsils of the palate. This is done if the person suffers from Peritonsillar Abscess recurrence and tonsil infection.
Analgesic medicines and antibiotics are used after Peritonsillar Abscess surgery to reduce discomfort and eliminate chances of infection. Patients of Peritonsillar Abscess after tonsillectomy require care and some amount of rest.
Peritonsillar Abscess Recovery
The pain and associated symptoms of Peritonsillar Abscess usually go away after a proper surgery. Following a surgery of Peritonsillar Abscess antibiotics are to be taken to make the condition go away completely. Analgesic medicines are also administered to the patient to bring relief from pain. The recovery is usually complete even though the infection may return in some cases.
In patients with uncomplicated cases of Peritonsillar Abscess recovery time is usually quite short. Complete Peritonsillar Abscess healing can however, take some time.
Peritonsillar Abscess Complications
Peritonsillar Abscess can give rise to some very serious health complications. In people affected by Peritonsillar Abscess emergency conditions may often arise due to
The condition has the bloodstream invaded by infectious microorganisms. In patients with Peritonsillar Abscess organisms of microscopic nature are often detected as a result of Septicaemia.
Spread of Abscess
The abscess extends to deep areas of the neck leading to obstruction of the airways.
In a few cases of Peritonsillar Abscess Necrosis may develop in the later stages. The disease causes the death of living cells in a localized region.
Pictures of Peritonsillar Abscess
What does a Peritonsillar Abscess look like? Take a look at these Peritonsillar Abscess pictures. If you are curious about the appearance of Peritonsillar Abscess, you can check out these Peritonsillar Abscess photos. These Peritonsillar Abscess images will help you know how the disease appears to view.
Picture 3 – Peritonsillar Abscess Picture
Source – disease-picture
Picture 4 – Peritonsillar Abscess
Source – wikieducator
Leaving Peritonsillar Abscess untreated can bring on any of these health complications and even put life at risk. So it is important to seek medical cure at the earliest signs of this disease. Early treatment can keep many future complications at bay and ensure perfect condition of health.
Written by anirudh
on January 19th, 2011. The article was last updated on September 3rd, 2011