The contemporary approach to diagnosis and management of peritonsillar abscess

Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Jun;13(3):157-60. doi: 10.1097/01.moo.0000162259.42115.38.


Purpose of review: Peritonsillar abscess is a common problem, but some aspects of diagnosis and management remain controversial. We review the recent literature on peritonsillar abscess.

Recent findings: Intraoral ultrasound can be a helpful diagnostic tool for peritonsillar abscess. For management, needle aspiration, incision and drainage, and quinsy tonsillectomy all yield successful results. Recent reviews have still not established that one treatment is consistently preferred. A randomized, placebo-controlled trail found that the use of intravenous steroids seems to reduce many symptoms, when used along with abscess drainage.

Summary: The use of steroids may be beneficial in the treatment of peritonsillar abscess, and different techniques for abscess drainage are still used around the world, with consistently good results.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Peritonsillar Abscess / diagnostic imaging*
  • Peritonsillar Abscess / therapy*
  • Suction / methods
  • Ultrasonography


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents