How is incision and drainage performed to treat peritonsillar abscess?

Updated: May 09, 2018
  • Author: Jeffrey D Suh, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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With a guarded scalpel (only part of the blade is exposed, to prevent a deep incision from being made), make a small incision above the tonsil, in the soft palate. Medial and superior incisions are safer from the standpoint of potential injury to the carotid artery.

Incision of PTA.

Using a curved Kelly clamp, enter the incision and perform gentle blunt dissection inferiorly, posteriorly, and slightly laterally. Gentle dissection in the area of fluctuance is usually sufficient to enter the abscess cavity. Once the abscess cavity is found, continue gentle dissection with the curved Kelly clamp to break up any loculations.

Blunt dissection with curved Kelly clamp.

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