Retropharyngeal Abscess

These patients prefer to lie flat vs. epiglottitis patients prefer to sit up/tripoding - Brit Long & Michael Gottlieb

Retropharyngeal Abscess

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Retropharyngeal Abscess – Look for limited neck mobility.

Retropharyngeal abscesses typically occur in children <5 yrs of age (as the retropharyngeal lymph tissue atrophy after this time). They can also occur after direct trauma (from a popsicle stick or other foreign objects impaling the adjacent structures) in older kids and “big babies” (AKA adults).

As often occurs, the classic teaching is not the common finding. You may have been taught that retropharyngeal abscesses present with signs of respiratory distress (stridor, tachypnea, drooling)… and this can occur; however, if you wait for the purulent puss pocket to cause such symptoms it has grown large enough to encroach upon the airway. It would be beneficial for all…

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Last Updated : Wednesday, April 14, 2021