A peritonsillar abscess is a collection of pus that forms in tissues
tonsils. Although uncommon, it can occur as a result
strep throat. The abscess can cause severe pain and an
inability to swallow, and you may become very ill.
A peritonsillar abscess may be diagnosed and treated with either a needle
aspiration or a small incision. A needle aspiration is a procedure that uses a needle to drain the abscess. A course of
antibiotics is given after the procedure. If a needle aspiration is not used, a peritonsillar abscess
may be treated with a simple procedure in which a small incision is made in the
abscess to drain it, followed by a course of antibiotics.
Surgery to remove the tonsils (tonsillectomy) may be done if you are concerned that the peritonsillar abscess will
recur. But tonsillectomy is not needed if you've only had one abscess. Most people who have had an abscess do
not have another one.
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.