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December 1959

Suppurations of the Neck

Author Affiliations

Fort Thomas, Ky.
From the Department of Otolaryngology, the University of Cincinnati Colloge of Medicine (Dr. Kratz).

AMA Arch Otolaryngol. 1959;70(6):692-695. doi:10.1001/archotol.1959.00730040706004

Although the antibiotic era has lessened the incidence and improved the prognosis of neck suppurations, surgical drainage remains the definitive method of treatment.

In 1941, Weintraub1 divided the retropharyngeal area into five separate spaces, namely, the paired right and left prevertebral spaces, the paired right and left peripharyngeal spaces, and, lying between the latter two, the unpaired postvisceral space. Infection in the postvisceral space may descend without any interfering barrier into the mediastinum, but infection in the prevertebral and peripharyngeal spaces is not likely to descend into the mediastinum.

I. Postvisceral Space  This space is located between the buccopharyngeal and the prevertebral fasciae and communicates freely with the posterior mediastinum. Furstenberg2 describes a simple technique to drain this space and the mediastinum: An incision is made along the anterior border of the sternomastoidFig. 1.—The relationship of the pharyngeal space abscesses to the normal structures. Reproduced with permission

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