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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2008 Sep;117(9):637-40.

Novel technique for peritonsillar abscess drainage.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.



We propose a novel technique for peritonsillar abscess (PTA) drainage in which the patient is lying in the Trendelenburg position. We provide evidence that this novel technique is relatively safe and effective in PTA drainage.


We queried otolaryngology training programs in regard to techniques of PTA drainage after receiving Institutional Review Board approval. Respondents were asked to rate their own level of success in draining PTAs, as well as the perceived satisfaction and comfort of the patient. These were rated on a scale of 1 (never successful or comfortable) to 5 (always successful or comfortable).


We collected 138 responses. The respondents included residents (67%), faculty (30%), and medical students (3%). The overwhelming majority of respondents placed the patient in a seated position (97%); only 4 respondents used the Trendelenberg position. On average, physicians who drained PTAs in the Trendelenberg versus the seated position had a higher success rating (5 versus 4.37) and a higher patient comfort rating (4.75 versus 3.31).


We propose a novel PTA drainage technique in which the patient is in the Trendelenburg position. We provide evidence that our technique is rarely used in otolaryngology, and provides success rates and patient comfort levels that are greater than those of the current standard of the seated position.

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