To the Editor.—I read with interest Herzon's1 article on permucosal needle drainage of peritonsillar abscesses in the February Archives, as I have been employing the technique since its original description. Like Herzon, I find that the procedure works well, although not in all cases, and I plan to continue using it. However, I must disagree with one of the inferences in the accompanying commentary by Cantrell,2 ie, the suggestion that substituting needle drainage for formal incision and drainage will avoid hospitalization. In my experience, this is much more dependent on the patient's psyche. A reasonably stoic patient can be sent home after a difficult incision and drainage (my latest peritonsillar abscess patient spent four days at home with an undrained abscess before seeing me!) whereas one at the other end of the spectrum of pain tolerance may insist on hospitalization after the simplest and smoothest needle aspiration.
GOODMAN RS. Permucosal Needle Drainage. Arch Otolaryngol. 1984;110(10):697. doi:10.1001/archotol.1984.00800360069018
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