Throat Abscess: Symptoms, Treatment, Photos, Complications

Table of contents:

Throat Abscess: Symptoms, Treatment, Photos, Complications
Throat Abscess: Symptoms, Treatment, Photos, Complications

Video: Throat Abscess: Symptoms, Treatment, Photos, Complications

Video: Throat Abscess: Symptoms, Treatment, Photos, Complications
Video: Urgent ENT Problems: Peritonsillar Abscess 2023, December

Throat abscess

The content of the article:

  1. Localization of an abscess in the throat
  2. Throat abscess symptoms
  3. Diagnostics
  4. Possible complications
  5. Throat abscess treatment
  6. Forecast
  7. Prevention
  8. Video

A throat abscess is a purulent inflammation of the tissues located in this anatomical region, followed by their melting and the formation of a purulent cavity. The process is caused by the ingress of pyogenic microbes into the palatine tonsils, pharynx, larynx through damaged mucous membranes or by drifting through the blood and lymphatic vessels from another purulent focus. The lack of timely adequate treatment of pathology is fraught with the development of dangerous complications that threaten the patient's health and life. Treatment of an abscess is surgical, surgical intervention is carried out against the background of antibacterial and detoxification therapy.

Throat abscess requires compulsory medical intervention, as it is a life-threatening disease
Throat abscess requires compulsory medical intervention, as it is a life-threatening disease

Throat abscess requires compulsory medical intervention, as it is a life-threatening disease

Localization of an abscess in the throat

With the development of an inflammatory infectious process in tissues, the body's protective reaction is manifested in the formation of a capsule, which delimits the pathological focus containing pus from healthy tissues. Depending on the location of the abscess, the following types are distinguished:

  • paratonsillar;
  • retropharyngeal;
  • periopharyngeal.

Throat abscess symptoms

Localization Pathogen and development mechanism Clinical manifestations

Paratonsillar, or paraindalline: acute inflammation of the fatty tissue located near the palatine tonsils on one or two sides. There are types: posterior (between the amygdala and the palatine-pharyngeal arch), lower (at the lower pole of the amygdala), anterior (between the palatine-lingual arch and the upper pole of the amygdala), external (outside of the amygdala).

Most often it is a complication of acute inflammation of the palatine tonsils, called acute tonsillitis or sore throat, as well as pharyngitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane and lymphoid tissue of the pharynx). Causative agents: β-hemolytic streptococcus group A, staphylococcus, or their combination. Diseases are more susceptible to children, adolescents, people with weakened immunity. Sore throat of increasing intensity, dysphagia, high fever, chills, intoxication (weakness, headache, etc.), regional lymphadenitis, bad breath, limitation of movement in the temporomandibular joint, as a result of which the patient has difficulty opening his mouth.
Retropharyngeal, or retropharyngeal: suppuration of the lymph nodes and tissue of the pharyngeal space.

It is a consequence of the penetration of infectious agents through the lymphatic vessels from the nasal cavity, nasopharynx, auditory tube and middle ear; complicated course of influenza, scarlet fever, measles infection; damage to the mucous membrane of the back wall of the pharynx by a foreign body, too hard food. It is observed, as a rule, in weakened children.

Sharp pain when swallowing, choking, sometimes accompanied by food getting into the nose; when a focus of pus is located in the nasopharynx - a violation of breathing through the nose, nasal voice; when the process spreads to the lower parts of the pharynx - difficulty breathing, accompanied by wheezing, which increases in the upright position of the body; swelling behind the corner of the lower jaw; forced position of the head (tilting back with a tilt to the sore side); high fever.
Periopharyngeal: a purulent inflammatory process of the tissue of the periopharyngeal space limited by the capsule.

It is a complication of the inflammatory process in the pharynx, oral cavity, middle ear, acute paratonsillar abscess, mastoiditis. It develops as a result of an injury to the pharynx or after an operation to remove the palatine tonsils - tonsillectomy. Infectious agents: streptococci, Staphylococcus aureus, fusiform and Escherichia coli. More common in adults.

Sharp sore throat, aggravated by trying to open the mouth and moving the head, swallowing disorder, tonic spasm of the chewing muscles, the appearance of a bulge, or knot, in the area of the lateral pharyngeal wall, tonsil and palatine arches on the affected side, a significant increase in body temperature (40 ° C and higher).


The diagnosis includes:

  • collection of complaints;
  • study of the history of the disease;
  • general inspection;
  • pharyngoscopy;
  • laboratory examination (detailed blood test, bacterial culture to identify the pathogen and determine its sensitivity to antibacterial drugs);
  • ultrasound examination of the neck area;
  • computed tomography of the neck;
  • X-ray of the soft tissues of the head and neck.

The last three studies in the list are less frequent. They are prescribed in difficult cases for the purpose of differential diagnosis, excluding the spread of the pathological process beyond the pharynx.

Identification of diseases that caused the appearance of a purulent process in the throat may require carrying out:

  • otoscopy;
  • rhinoscopy;
  • radiography of the paranasal sinuses (photo of the paranasal sinuses).

Possible complications

A throat abscess can be complicated by life-threatening conditions.

Localization Possible complications
Paratonsillar Phlegmon of the neck, mediastinitis, necrosis, or necrosis, tissues, sepsis, thrombophlebitis of the cavernous sinus.
Retropharyngeal Acute edema of the entrance to the larynx, suffocation with spontaneous opening of the abscess, while the larynx is blocked by purulent masses, compression of the trachea, purulent mediastinitis, sepsis, purulent meningitis.

Laryngeal edema, choking, purulent anterior mediastinitis, phlegmon of the neck, osteomyelitis of the lower jaw, cervical vertebrae, purulent meningitis, sepsis.

The development of complications requires immediate medical attention. To prevent them, it is necessary to correctly and timely treat purulent processes in the throat, especially sore throat, which is complicated not only by the formation of an abscess of the pharynx, but also in later periods (2–4 weeks) by heart damage (fibrous changes in the valves, carditis) and kidneys (glomerulonephritis).

Throat abscess treatment

Elimination of abscessing inflammation in the throat involves a set of measures. The basis of treatment is surgery against the background of antibacterial and symptomatic therapy.

Lancing a throat abscess in combination with antibiotic therapy is the main treatment regimen
Lancing a throat abscess in combination with antibiotic therapy is the main treatment regimen

Lancing a throat abscess in combination with antibiotic therapy is the main treatment regimen

Localization Complex of therapeutic measures
Paratonsillar In a hospital setting, opening the purulent cavity, ensuring its adequate drainage. The ineffectiveness of therapy, the spread of the process, the recurrence of the disease may require an abscess stonsillectomy (surgical removal of the abscess along with the affected palatine tonsil). Appointment of antibacterial drugs of the lincosamide group, semisynthetic penicillins in combination with clavulanic acid, cephalosporins, and after receiving the results of bacteriological culture - antibiotics to which the pathogen is sensitive. Symptomatic therapy involves the use of analgesics, antipyretic drugs, intravenous infusion of solutions for the purpose of detoxification, antiseptics for rinsing the mouth.

Surgical opening of the purulent cavity with simultaneous suction of pus, preventing it from entering the respiratory tract, drainage. At the same time, systemic therapy with antibacterial drugs is carried out according to the principles listed earlier, sanitation of existing foci of infection in the nasopharynx or ear, antipyretic and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antihistamines and vitamin preparations, antiseptics in the form of rinsing are prescribed.

Periopharyngeal Surgical treatment is expressed in the opening of the abscess. In the postoperative period, antibacterial drugs of a wide spectrum of action, analgesics are prescribed, infusion therapy is carried out in order to eliminate intoxication, if necessary, antigangrenous serum is administered.


Timely detection of the disease, adequate surgical treatment, correctly selected antibiotics in the overwhelming majority of cases provide a favorable outcome. If complications arise, the prognosis may look dubious or even unfavorable.


Measures aimed at preventing the formation of purulent pathology and its formidable complications include:

  • early diagnosis and full therapy of inflammatory processes in the oral cavity, nasopharynx, middle ear;
  • adherence to the rules for performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures involving the introduction of a breathing tube or an endoscopic device into the pharynx;
  • observance of caution when removing foreign bodies from the pharynx;
  • prevention of violation of the technique of surgical interventions during tonsillectomy, removal of tumors, adenoids.

Timely treatment of patients for medical care is of great importance.


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Anna Kozlova
Anna Kozlova

Anna Kozlova Medical journalist About the author

Education: Rostov State Medical University, specialty "General Medicine".

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