The sudden release of pus under pressure from a retropharyngeal abscess has frequently been the cause of death in a patient. The patient either drowns from this sudden inspiration of pus or dies as a result of the pulmonary complication with infection.
The firm base on which the abscess rests and the dense surrounding tissue help to produce a marked increase in pressure. To overcome the danger of this sudden release when the abscess is opened, I have devised this evacuator. It has several different-sized rubber bell-shaped diaphragms which fit snugly over the apex of the abscess. Continuous suction through the handle of the instrument firmly engages the rubber diaphragm over the dome of the abscess, and when the knife is slowly inserted, the escaping pus is rapidly drawn off by the continuous suction. A spring retractor holds the knife up out of place so that the abscess may be completely evacuated without additional trauma.
DIXON OJ. RETROPHARYNGEAL ABSCESS EVACUATOR. Arch Otolaryngol. 1934;19(5):618–619. doi:10.1001/archotol.1934.03790050083014