What does a peritonsillar abscess look like?

What does a peritonsillar abscess look like?

What does a peritonsillar abscess look like

What does a peritonsillar abscess look like? Fever, pain, inability to open your mouth with eating difficulty may be indications that you have a peritonsillar abscess.

Although a peritonsillar abscess isn’t very common it can still happen in some cases especially in children and young adults.

So it is so important to know what does a peritonsillar abscess look like and what are the causes leading to it ?

Tonsils and their location:

The tonsils are soft tissues lying on either side at the back of the throat, they help us fight infections invading our body but sometimes they themselves get an infection.

One of the most common infections affecting the tonsils is the streptococcal bacteria because of its common to causes tonsils inflammation (tonsillitis).

Causes of peritonsillar abscess:

Before answering what does a peritonsillar abscess look like , we should know the causes leading to its formation.

A peritonsillar abscess is a collection of pus around the tonsils.

Many theories were established to explain the formation of peritonsillar abscess the 2 famous theories are:

  • A peritonsillar abscess is a form of spread of tonsillar inflammation and infection affecting the tonsils like tonsillitis caused by streptococcal bacteria.
  • Furthermore, Other scientists suggest that salivary glands lying near the tonsils called ( weber glands) are the main suspects in the peritonsillar abscess.

When the infection affects the duct of the gland and it inflamed they cause obstruction and infection in the peritonsillar area.

No matter what is the cause of the peritonsillar abscess what really matters are its symptoms and what does a peritonsillar abscess look like ?.

Symptoms and what does a peritonsillar abscess look like ?

A peritonsillar abscess could be seen as an inflamed swelling at the back of the throat at one side together with some significant symptoms such as:

  • Sore throat.
  • Fever.
  • Inability to open your mouth.
  • Ear pain on the same side of the abscess.
  • Difficulty and pain during swallowing.
  • Headache.

If you experienced these symptoms please visit a doctor for an examination to avoid further complications.

Complications of a peritonsillar abscess:

The most important thing after knowing what does a peritonsillar abscess look like is to avoid possible complications like:

  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Dehydration.
  • pneumonia .
  • Sepsis ( bacteria reaching the blood).
  • Spread of infection to the near tissues.

Treatment of peritonsillar abscess:

After examination of your throat the doctor decides the treatment plan according to the severity of the case.

Generally the doctor would begin with antibiotics either alone or with abscess drainage.

Therefore, The antibiotics are prescribed after a swab taken to determine the type of bacteria causing the infection.

Abscess drainage could be done in 2 ways after applying a local anesthesia:

  • Aspiration of the pus by a needle.
  • Incision of the abscess with a lancet.

In some cases, WHO recommend to remove the whole tonsil ( tonsillectomy) if the patient suffers from the repeated peritonsillar abscess.


Answering the question “ what does a peritonsillar abscess look like ?” is very important since it has many complications we could avoid.

Fever, sore throat, inability to swallow and ear pain are common symptoms of a peritonsillar abscess.

Once you notice one or more of these symptoms please go for a medical check-up to avoid infection spread or worsening of the case.


What to know about peritonsillar abscesses

Peritonsillar Abscess

  Peritonsillar Abscess formation

drug information

Leave a Reply