What is included in the oral exam for suspected tonsillitis and/or 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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Answer

Physical examination should begin by determining the degree of distress regarding airway and swallowing function. Examination of the pharynx may be facilitated by opening the mouth without tongue protrusion, followed by gentle central depression of the tongue. Full assessment of oral mucosa, dentition, and salivary ducts may then be performed by gently "walking" a tongue depressor about the lateral oral cavity. Flexible fiberoptic nasopharyngoscopy may be useful in selected cases, particularly with severe trismus. (The images below depict the oral examination.)

Examination of the tonsils and pharynx. Examination of the tonsils and pharynx.
Oral mucosal examination. Oral mucosal examination.

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