Podcast 761: Peritonsillar Abscess: To Stab or Not to Stab? - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 761: Peritonsillar Abscess: To Stab or Not to Stab?

Contributor: Jared Scott, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Often present with complaints of sore throat, pain with swallowing, difficulty swallowing, voice change, and possible fever
  • Retrospective study from 2018 evaluated outcomes of peritonsillar abscess with two management arms, surgical vs. non-surgical treatment
  • Non-surgical treatment only included IV fluids as well as IV ceftriaxone + clindamycin; Surgical treatment included either needle aspiration or incision and drainage of the abscess as well as the medical treatment from the non-surgical arm
  • Failure rate in both arms were statistically equivalent, but patients in the surgical arm had more days missed from work and more use of opioid medications for pain


Battaglia A, Burchette R, Hussman J, Silver MA, Martin P, Bernstein P. Comparison of Medical Therapy Alone to Medical Therapy with Surgical Treatment of Peritonsillar Abscess. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018;158(2):280-286. doi:10.1177/0194599817739277

Summarized by John Spartz, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD


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