Peritonsillar abscess (PTA), also known as a quinsy, is pus due to an infection behind the tonsil. Symptoms include fever, throat pain, trouble opening the mouth, and a change to the voice. Pain is usually worse on one side. Complications may include blockage of the airway or aspiration pneumonitis.
They are typically due to infection by a number of types of bacteria. Often it follows streptococcal pharyngitis. They do not typically occur in those who have had a tonsillectomy. Diagnosis is usually based on the symptoms. Medical imaging may be done to rule out complications.
Treatment is by removing the pus, antibiotics, sufficient fluids, and pain medication. Steroids may also be useful. Admission to hospital is generally not needed. In the United States about 3 per 10,000 people per year are affected. Young adults are most commonly affected.