Orbital cellulitis with subperiosteal abscess: demographics and management outcomes

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011 Sep-Oct;27(5):330-2. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0b013e31821b6d79.


Purpose: Infectious orbital cellulitis represents a serious threat to vision and, if untreated, poses significant morbidity risk. In this study, the authors attempt to further characterize the features of orbital cellulitis with subperiosteal abscess (SPA) and determine outcomes based on the type of surgical intervention employed.

Methods: Data were obtained by retrospective chart review of all inpatient admissions for orbital inflammation/cellulitis from Sept 2005 to April 2010. Charts were reviewed for demographic information, radiographic and clinic evidence of orbital cellulitis, presence of SPA (defined by radiographic criteria), interventions taken (surgical and nonsurgical), presence of concurrent sinusitis, types of microbes present, and duration of hospital admission. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square tests.

Results: A total of 97 patients were admitted with a diagnosis of orbital inflammation/cellulitis, of whom 49 patients had clinical and/or radiographic evidence of orbital cellulitis. Twenty-four patients had radiographic evidence of SPA. All patients with SPA had concurrent sinusitis, and 16 patients underwent initial surgical intervention. Nine patients had external transcaruncular/transcutaneous SPA drainage only, 6 had combined SPA and sinus drainage, and one had sinus drainage alone. Of those that underwent SPA-only drainage, 5 had SPA reaccumulation, while no reaccumulation occurred with combined SPA and sinus drainage. No reaccumulation occurred if the SPA was less than 2 cm in its greatest diameter.

Conclusion: In this study, for those abscesses larger than 2 cm, combined sinus and SPA drainage was associated with improved treatment outcome, demonstrated by absence of abscess reaccumulation and shorter hospital stay. SPA-only drainage was more frequently associated with SPA reaccumulation.

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Frontal Sinusitis / complications
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Orbital Cellulitis / complications
  • Orbital Cellulitis / therapy*
  • Orbital Diseases / therapy*
  • Periosteum*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult