What is the role of incision and drainage in the treatment of peritonsillar abscesses (PTAs)?

Updated: Sep 03, 2020
  • Author: Jorge Flores, MD; Chief Editor: Jeter (Jay) Pritchard Taylor, III, MD  more...
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The patient should be sitting upright with a pan available to spit out any blood or pus.

A tongue depressor is used to retract the tongue.

After local infiltration with lidocaine with epinephrine, a No. 11 blade scalpel is used to make a small incision 0.5 cm long and no more than 1 cm deep. Be certain that the incision is not extended laterally as the carotid artery lies in that vicinity.

Use a small hemostat to probe the abscess and release the pus.

To prevent the risk of aspiration, allow the patient to hold the Yankauer catheter tip and to suction the pus.

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