Bilateral peritonsillar abscess revisited | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Bilateral peritonsillar abscess revisited

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December 1, 2005
by Adnan Safdar, FRCS; Joseph P. Hughes, FRCS; Rory McConn Walsh, FRCS; Michael Walsh, FRCS
Bilateral peritonsillar abscess is uncommon. When it does occur, patients usually present with sore throat; other clinical signs and symptoms may differ from those usually associated with unilateral peritonsillar abscess. We describe 2 cases of bilateral peritonsillar abscess that were successfully treated with needle aspiration of both sides with a 14-gauge intravenous cannula. Needle aspiration is an accepted form of treatment for unilateral peritonsillar abscess, but to the best of our knowledge, its use as a sole treatment modality (with observation under intravenous antibiotic coverage) for bilateral peritonsillar abscess has not been previously reported in the literature. We also believe that the incidence of acute bilateral peritonsillar abscess may be higher than the rates that have been reported in the literature. Finally, we recommend that the threshold for imaging be low for any patient who is suspected of having acute bilateral peritonsillar abscess to avoid any delay in diagnosis and treatment.

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