Neck abscesses can refer to different types of abscess found in the neck and neck structures. Children can develop these conditions. When they present with tell-tale symptoms, it is important to have the child examined by a doctor for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
Neck Abscess in Children
- Neck abscess is a collective term that refers to the different types of abscess found in the neck and neck structures.
- When pus forms from an infection, it collects in the space between the structures of the neck forming an abscess.
- As the abscess expands, so does the soft tissue spaces, which causes the structures of the neck to be pushed back including the throat, tongue, or even the trachea. Complications arise when this occurs.
- Neck abscesses are also referred to as cervical or deep neck abscess or infections.
Neck Abscess in Infants
Infants can also develop neck abscesses especially when the right combination of factors is present. There are different types of neck abscesses and these include:
- Retropharyngeal abscess – or an abscess that forms at the back of the pharynx.
- Peritonsillar abscess – or an abscess that forms on the tissues beside the tonsils. These are commonly seen in adolescents and young adults.
- Ludwig’s Angina – or an abscess that forms beneath the tissues in the mouth floor. When the abscess expands, it pushes the tongue upward and back towards the throat causing a blockage. This is usually seen in young children almost always following a dental infection.
Causes and Treatment for Neck Abscess in Children
Many factors can cause the development of a neck abscess including:
- During or immediately after a bacterial or viral infection such as a cold, sinus infection, tonsillitis, or otitis media.
- Abscesses can also occur following an inflammation or infection of a congenital neck mass present at birth. Examples of congenital neck mass include a branchial cyst or thyroglossal duct cyst.
No matter the type of neck abscess, mainstay treatments are usually followed. These include:
- Aggressive antibiotic therapy often given intravenously.
- Surgical drainage of the abscess is also needed. This can be done through the use of a needle or through a neck incision.
- Hospitalization is advised pre and post surgery to monitor the patient’s condition.
- Follow up exams and laboratory tests are also needed to monitor the progress or improvement of the patient’s condition.