What are the signs and symptoms of peritonsillar abscess (PTA)?

Updated: Apr 06, 2020
  • Author: Udayan K Shah, MD, FACS, FAAP; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Individuals with peritonsillar abscess (PTA) present with the following:

  • Severe throat pain

  • Fever

  • Drooling

  • Foul breath

  • Trismus (difficulty opening the mouth)

  • Altered voice quality (the hot-potato voice)

Physical examination of a PTA almost always reveals unilateral bulging above and lateral to one of the tonsils.

See Clinical Presentation for more detail.

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