Definition of Peritonsillar abscess

Peritonsillar abscess: A collection of pus behind the tonsils that pushes one of the tonsils toward the uvula. A peritonsillar abscess is generally very painful and is usually associated with a decreased ability to open the mouth. If left untreated, the infection can spread deep in the neck, causing airway obstruction and life-threatening complications.


Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012

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