Objective: Peritonsillar abscess (PTA) is commonly seen but still controversial. We performed an evidence-based review to answer 3 questions: Are steroids beneficial? Which is the best technique for acute surgical management? When is tonsillectomy indicated?
Study design: We performed a MEDLINE search of the published literature using appropriate search terms to identify pertinent articles, which were reviewed and graded according to the evidence quality.
Results: Forty-two articles were analyzed. There are no published studies on steroids in PTA. There were 5 level I clinical studies on surgical technique, which indicated that needle aspiration, incision and drainage, and quinsy tonsillectomy are all effective for initial management. The overall PTA recurrence rate is 10% to 15%.
Conclusions: Overall, grade C evidence indicates that several methods of initial surgical drainage are equally effective, and the recurrence rate is low. The literature does not specifically address different treatments for children and adults.