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February 1984

Proper Treatment of Peritonsillar Abscess: An Exercise in Cost Containment

Author Affiliations

Charlottesville, Va

Arch Otolaryngol. 1984;110(2):103. doi:10.1001/archotol.1984.00800280037010

The proper treatment of peritonsillar abscess remains a controversial area of otolaryngology—head and neck surgery. Accepted treatment today consists of either incision and drainage with or without later tonsil-

See also p 104.

lectomy or immediate tonsillectomy, with appropriate antibiotic therapy administered in all cases. The patient is hospitalized in many cases, particularly the ones who undergo the tonsillectomy. Now, in an accompanying article in this issue, Herzon1 describes five years of experience in treating 41 patients with peritonsillar abscesses with needle aspiration and oral antibiotics. Thirty-nine of these patients were treated as outpatients. Fifty-four patients, suspected of having peritonsillar abscess, were treated initially either in the emergency room or the otolaryngology clinic with a maximum of two needle aspirations, using an 18-gauge spinal needle attached to a 10-mL syringe. The abscesses of 13 patients yielded no pus on needle aspiration. These patients were not considered to have peritonsillar

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