Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1990 Jun;19(2):109-19.

Selective non-surgical management of subperiosteal abscess of the orbit: computerized tomography and clinical course as indication for surgical drainage.

Author information

Department of Surgery, Tripler Army Medical Center, HI 96859-5000.


Subperiosteal abscess of the orbit (SPA) in childhood is an uncommon but serious sequela of sinusitis, with partial or complete visual loss as the most common complication. Traditional management of SPA has combined systemic antibiotics with immediate surgical drainage. The records of 120 children admitted from 1982-1986 with the diagnosis of periorbital or orbital cellulitis were reviewed. Ten cases of SPA were documented by CT scan (8%). Antecedent ethmoid sinusitis was present in all cases. Five SPA patients were managed with intravenous antibiotics and nasal decongestants alone. All had complete clinical and radiographic resolution without complication. The remaining 5 patients underwent surgical drainage. Two patients required immediate drainage due to total ophthalmoplegia upon presentation. One case of postoperative epidural abscess occurred one week after external fronto-ethmoidectomy among these two patients. The remaining 3 patients did not respond adequately to medical therapy alone and underwent surgical drainage without complication. Length of hospital stay in both medical and surgical groups was similar. We conclude that SPA can be safely managed by medical therapy alone in selected cases. Criteria for surgical intervention of documented SPA while on optimal medical therapy should include: worsening of visual acuity or ocular motility, or failure to improve clinically within 48 h. The presence of SPA alone should no longer be considered an absolute indication for surgery.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center