Management of orbital subperiosteal abscess in children

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001 Mar;127(3):281-6. doi: 10.1001/archotol.127.3.281.


Objectives: To present guidelines for the management of an orbital subperiosteal abscess (SPA) in children and to assess the efficacy and safety of transnasal endoscopic drainage of an orbital SPA.

Setting: Tertiary care children's hospital.

Patients: Nineteen patients treated for an SPA between July 1997 and December 1999. The age of the patients ranged from 17 months to 14 years (mean, 6 years). The male-female ratio was 10:9. Treatment modalities included transnasal endoscopic drainage (n = 11), external drainage (n = 3), and intravenous antibiotics alone (n = 5).

Results: Bilateral pansinusitis was the most common cause. All patients received an initial trial of intravenous antibiotics. Based on the Fisher exact test, no statistically significant differences were detected for age, sex, presence of gaze restriction, and radiographic findings. Based on multiple logistic regression, degree of proptosis was the only significant multivariate predictor of surgery (P =.003). The estimated probability of surgery was 6% when there was no proptosis, and 92% for 2 mm of proptosis. The location of the SPA determined the route of surgical drainage. Eleven patients with a medially based SPA underwent drainage via the transnasal endoscopic approach, and 3 with a superior SPA underwent drainage externally. The external approach was associated with a longer hospital stay (median, 7 days) than either the endoscopic or the intravenous antibiotic approach (median, 5 days).

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / diagnostic imaging
  • Abscess / drug therapy
  • Abscess / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drainage*
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Orbital Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Orbital Diseases / drug therapy
  • Orbital Diseases / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed