Parapharyngeal abscess: Treatment, and Diagnosis – Health Salubrity

Parapharyngeal abscess

Parapharyngeal abscess refers to a bump deep in the neck. Its symptoms are sore throat, fever, odynophagia, and neck swelling from a hyoid bone. Diagnosis is by CT. Treatment options include antibiotics as well as surgical drainage.

The parapharyngeal (pharyngomaxillary) area is located laterally from the superior pharyngeal constrictors and medially connected to the pterygoid muscular. This space connects with every other prominent neck space in the fascia.

It’s separated into the anterior and posterior compartments through the styloid procedure. The rear case houses the carotid artery, the internal Jugular vein, as well as many nerves.

Infections of the parapharyngeal region generally originate from the pharynx or the tonsils, but local infection from odontogenic sources or lymph nodes can occur.

Abscess swelling could affect the airway. The abscess in the posterior space can cause erosion into the carotid vein or cause septic thrombophlebitis of the internal Jugular vein (Lemierre syndrome).

Parapharyngeal abscesses are neck abscesses that involve the parapharyngeal area. It is a severe health problem that could lead to death and requires immediate diagnostic and medical treatment.

Symptoms and Signs of Parapharyngeal Abscess

A majority of patients experience the symptoms of fever, sore throat, anodynophagia, and swelling of the neck from a hyoid bone.

Anterior space abscesses trigger trismus and induration on the mandible’s angle with medial bulging the tonsil as well as the lateral pharyngeal wall.

Posterior Space abscesses result in the swelling being more noticeable in the posterior pharyngeal walls. Trismus is not a problem.

Posterior abscesses could cause damage to the carotid sheath. They could end up leading to rigors and high fever, bacteremia, neurological issues, and massive bleeding triggered by the rupture of the carotid artery.

Diagnosis of Parapharyngeal Abscess

  • CT

The diagnosis is often suspected by patients with vaguely identified deep neck infections or similar symptoms. It is confirmed with contrast-enhanced CT.

Treatment of Parapharyngeal Abscess

  • Broad-spectrum antibiotics (e.g., ceftriaxone, clindamycin)
  • Drainage with a surgical instrument

Treatment may require airway control. The use of broad-spectrum antibiotics (e.g., the ceftriaxone antibiotic and the clindamycin), as well as surgical drains, are usually needed. Posterior abscesses drain externally through the submaxillary fosse.

Abscesses in the anterior region are typically treated with an intra-oral cut, but larger abscesses stretching beyond the parapharyngeal area could also need an additional surgical procedure.

A few days of parenteral, culture-based antibiotics must be administered following drainage, followed by 10-to-14 days of oral antibiotics. Sometimes, tiny abscesses may be treated using IV antibiotics by themselves.


Any person can develop a parapharyngeal apse, but it is often observed in adolescents and children. People with immunocompromised conditions are also at a higher risk of developing.

Clinical presentation

The manner of presentation is different, and the initial signs of a parapharyngeal abrasion are similar to those of acute pharyngitis or Tonsiliits (fever and nasal voice, sore throat, cervical lymphadenopathy, dysphonia).

The progression of the symptoms and signs is essential concerning the inflammation and obstruction of the upper airways or the gastrointestinal tract. There could be dysphagia or dyspnea, stiff neck, stridor, trismus, or drooling. It could also be chest discomfort.


Most often, parapharyngeal abscesses are due to infections of the oropharynx that are spread by direct continuity or through lymphatic drainage

  • chronic and acute tonsillitis, chronic or acute
  • The rupture of an abscess peritonsillar
  • Dental diseases usually originate from the lower end of the tooth, the molar.
  • Abscess of Bezold
  • petrositis
  • spread out from the other neck and headspaces (e.g., parotid, retropharyngeal or submandibular spaces)
  • due to trauma penetrating the neck
  • Iatrogenic, e.g., injection of a local anesthetic to treat tonsillectomy or mandibular neuro block

Prognosis and treatment

If a parapharyngeal abscess has been discovered, treatment should be initiated immediately. It is usually treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics as well as surgical drainage. Sometimes, abscesses of small size can be treated using IV antibiotics by themselves 1.


Space infections of the parapharynx are significant causes of mortality and morbidity because of possible complications, including 2.

  • acute edema in the larynx due to airway obstruction
  • Jugular vein thrombophlebitis, accompanied by Septicemia ( Lemierre syndrome)
  • spreading of infection spread of infection the retropharyngeal region
  • spreading of disease in the mediastinum throughout the carotid space or in the risk space
  • mycotic aneurysm with a possibility of rupture to the internal carotid artery.
  • carotid blowout and massive hemorrhage

Parapharyngeal Abscesses Caused by Group G Streptococcus


Deep neck abscess can be a severe infection that results in laryngeal swelling and airway obstruction. The most prevalent bacterial species that is that causes this condition is streptococcus group A.

The group G streptococcus (GGS) is part of the average community flora of the upper airway of the human. However, it’s not uncommon for it to cause tonsillitis, pharyngitis, and peritonsillar abscess.

We present the case of a woman suffering from a parapharyngeal abscess triggered by GGS. A woman aged 56 was admitted to the emergency department with complaints of throat swelling and soreness, and the diagnosis of parapharyngeal abscess was made.

The patient had an upper airway obstruction and required an urgent tracheostomy. Endoscopic surgery along with drainage of abscess with a specialized rigid, curved laryngoscope was successful.

Because a rigid laryngoscope provides a large viewing area and working area, it is helpful for the incision and drainage of an abscess in the parapharynx.

1. Introduction

Deep neck abscess, which includes abscesses of the parapharynx and retropharynx, is a life-threatening condition leading to laryngeal swelling and airway obstruction.

Numerous case reports demonstrated that the group G streptococcal (GGS) bacteria constitute normal flora that inhabits the upper airway in humans that can trigger severe pharyngitis, tonsillitis, and, in rare cases, the peritonsillar abscess.

In this case, we report an abscess in the parapharynx with airway obstruction due to GGS.

We have successfully performed an endoscopic procedure for the incision and draining of the abscess by using an elongated laryngoscope with severe curvature, a specifically created laryngoscope through Satou (Satou’s Curved laryngo and pharyngo Scope(r); Nagashima Medical Instruments Company, Tokyo, Japan).

1.1. Case Presentation

A woman of 56 years old presented to our emergency department complaining of complaints of throat swelling and soreness.

Her medical background included hypertension, frequent smoking, and occasional drinking of alcohol. She experienced a sore throat. She visited an area clinic for three days before coming to our emergency department.

The diagnosis was that she had tonsillitis. Tests for antigens in Group A were positive, and she has prescribed amoxicillin at 750 mg/day. Two after two days, she experienced dyspnea, dysphagia, and neck stiffness.

When she arrived at their hospital, she was suffering from a severe sore throat, and the voice was muffled, and she was crying.

Laryngeal fiberscopy confirmed swelling of the caudal mucosa of the oropharyngeal on the right side, and an epiglottis that was severely swollen, and the arytenoid region, which caused airway obstruction in the upper part of her.

She had a SpO2 level of 97% when she used 2 L oxygen and her temperature of 37.4degC. Test results from blood tests indicated an intense inflammation (white blood cells count, 15.3 x 109/L; C reactive proteins, 27.6 mg/L).

We identified a diagnosis of an abscess in the parapharynx. Due to the high chance of suffocation, the doctor initially performed tracheostomy for patients under anesthesia local to them.

A high-definition computed tomography scan after the tracheostomy showed hypodense lesions on the left and posterior walls of the pharynx.

The patient did the incision and drainage from the abscess under general anesthesia with a rigidly curved obturator.

Peritonsillitis that contained pus and mucus in the posterior part of the pillar was seen. The incision and opening were areas of the swollen rear pillar and the pharyngeal walls lateral and posterior and drained pus from these areas.

The operation was carried out without any adverse reactions.

The patient was given 3 mg/day of meropenem for treatment. On postoperative day four, the culture of anaerobes and aerobes identified GGS and Parvimonas Micra and Parvimonas Micra.

The treatment was changed from 4 grams/day piperacillin and 1.2 grams/d the clindamycin. The course of recovery was smooth.


GAS is a critical microbial pathogen that causes pharyngitis condition, peritonsillar abscesses, and deep neck infections.

In our instance, GGS and Parvimonas Micra were identified within the pus. It is expected that mixed anaerobic and aerobic bacteria can be detected through the culturing of pus.

Tsai et al. found that polymicrobial growth was seen in 57.39 percent of the pus culture [44. Empirical antibiotics that target both anaerobes and aerobes would be suitable.

But, given GGS’s aggressive characteristic similar to GAS, GGS appeared to be a significant pathogen for the parapharyngeal and abscesses peritonsillar that can cause possibly fatal airway obstruction. GGS is often found throughout the human pharynx as well as tonsils.

G streptococci and Group C are antigenic variants from the same organism Streptococcus dysgalactiae, subspecies equi (SDSE).

The analysis of the genome sequence homology of GGS showed that GGS was the most similar in sequence to GAS, with 72% of the line being similar

A study of the virulence profile of SDSE showed the genetic cause of disease-related propensity is shared by GAS and includes the antiphagocytic M protein streptolysin O and streptolysin, streptokinase, as well as one or more exotoxins that cause pyrogens

The impact associated with SDSE infection is similar to the one caused by invasive GAS infection.

We examined the bacteriology of abscess peritonsillar in previous studies that searched through the PubMed database. There were nine studies between 2014 and 2018. Two studies were omitted because the specific Streptococcus species were not included.

GGS or GCS is a rare disease with a prevalence of less than 5 percent [8-148-14]. However, GGS could not be detected with the rapid antigen test due to the absence of the group A antigen, the primary target for these tests.

The current guidelines for pharyngitis focus specifically on streptococci from group A and only suggest antibiotics.

As we’ve discovered, GGS also causes life-threatening conditions, such as an abscess in the neck that is deep. The primary doctor must be aware of the adverse outcomes.

During surgery, it’s crucial to see the abscess and provide a suitable working space. The intraoral approach employing self-retaining mouth gags and the ipsilateral tonsillectomy may be utilized to identify diseases within the parapharyngeal area.

However, the Davis gag is an excellent option to observe oropharyngeal structures within the tonsils and oral cavity; however, it cannot be used to view the oropharynx caudal.

Thus, doctors should carry out an invasive procedure to remove the ipsilateral tonus and then move towards the parapharyngeal space.

We present a new method employing a rigid laryngoscope that allows for the incision and drainage of an abscess of the parapharynx. This device was created to enable laryngopharyngeal surgeries under endoscopic vision.

Recent case reports have reported the successful removal of a fishbone from the hypopharynx and drainage of retropharyngeal abscesses with the rigid laryngoscope 19 and 18. It is helpful for hypopharyngeal or oral surgery.

The blade is placed into the pharynx and then moved forward. The oropharynx is visible. After opening the entire oropharynx, the handle is fixed to a holder, set to the table.

Due to a bent line path, we utilized instruments like high-frequency knives that are malleable (KD-600(r); Olympus, Tokyo, Japan) and malleable forceps (Laryngo FIT(r); Karl Storz Tuttlingen, Germany).

In our study, the laryngoscope was rigid and curved. It has exposed the entire oropharynx and the cap oropharynx. A straight laryngoscope of the conventional type is used to see the caudal oropharynx.

However, it offers only a little visual and functional space. This instrument with curvature can provide an expansive working area that allows easy and thorough drainage and incision while not requiring neck incisions or tonsillectomy.

Therefore it can be helpful in the incision and drainage of an abscess that is parapharyngeal.

Ethical Approval

The case report was prepared in conformity with the Declaration of Helsinki.


Written informed consent from the patient was sought to allow the publication of this case.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors state that there aren’t any conflicts of interest relating to this paper.


GGS is a significant pathogen for deeper neck abscesses. A laryngoscope that is rigid and curved can provide the use of a large viewing field and working space, which is why it is beneficial for the incision and drainage of an abscess in the parapharynx.

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