|CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368|
by Deanna M. Neff, MPH
Peritonsillar abscess is a bacterial infection. It develops on the side of the throat, behind or above the tonsils. The infection causes a pocket of pus to form. This type of abscess usually happens on 1 side of the throat or the other.
The abscess is caused by bacteria. It is usually a complication of another illness, such as strep throat.
Risk Factors TOP
It is more common in males and people 20-40 years old.
Factors that may increase your chances of developing peritonsillar abscess include:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
You may need to have tissue tested. This can be done with needle aspiration.
You may need to have pictures taken of the inside of your neck. This can be done with:
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment may include:
Rest and drink plenty of fluids.
Medications may include:
The abscess may be punctured with a needle. Fluid will be removed. A sample will be sent to the lab for testing. This procedure can be done in the doctor’s office.
Incision and Drainage Procedure TOP
An incision and drainage procedure may be done. While under sedation, a small cut will be made in the abscess. The fluid will be drained.
To help reduce your chances of getting peritonsillar abscess, take the following steps:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head, and Neck Surgery
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Dunn N, Lane D, Everitt H, Little P. Use of antibiotics for sore throat and incidence of quinsy. Br J Gen Pract. 2007 Jan;57(534):45.
Peritonsillar abscess. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated May 13, 2015. Accessed February 16, 2016.
Steyer T. Peritonsillar abscess: diagnosis and treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2002;65(1):93-97. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed February 16, 2016.
10/27/2017 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed...: Chau JK, Seikaly HR, Harris JR, Villa-Roel C, Brick C, Rowe BH. Corticosteroids in peritonsillar abscess treatment: a blinded placebo-controlled clinical trial. Laryngoscope. 2014;124(1):97-103.
Last reviewed March 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 10/27/2017
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.