Clinical differentiation of peritonsillar abscess (PTA) from peritonsillar cellulitis is sometimesdifficult and physicians often rely on blind needle aspiration to locate abscess formation. According to previous studies, intraoralultrasound is a useful, simple, and noninvasive technique that candifferentiate PTA from cellulitis in clinically equivocal cases,although it may cause some discomfort. The objective of this study was to establish a neck ultrasonographic technique that candifferentiatePTA from cellulitis in borderline cases and thereby to avoid unnecessary needle aspiraton. Subjects and Method:The study population included 44 patients (32 males and 12 females;age range 13 to 59 years) with clinically suspected PTA.These patientsunderwent neck ultrasonography examination before needle aspiration of abscess. Results:On the basis of neckultrasonography, 38 patients were considered as PTA and 6 as cellulitis. Neck ultrasonography was able to detect peritonsillarabscess in 94.7 per cent of the cases (sensitivity). The specificity of the test was 83.3 per cent, and accuracy was 79.1 per cent.Conclusion:Neck ultrasonography is a useful, simple, well-tolerated non-invasive technique that can be used to differentiatePTA from cellulitis in clinically equivocal cases. (Korean J Otorhinolaryngol-Head Neck Surg 2008;51:1134-9)
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