Peritonsillar abscess classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Prince Tano Djan, BSc, MBChB [2]


Peritonsillar abscess may be classified into 3 broad categories based on computed tomographical findings. These are based on the shape of the abscess, location of the abscess and shape and location of the abscess. This may be oval or cap, superior or inferior.[1]


On the basis of computed tomographical findings, peritonsillar abscess may be classified into 3 broad categories based on the following:

1. Shape of the abscess

On the basis of shape it may be classified as:[1]

  • Oval type or
  • Cap type

2. Location of the abscess

On the basis of abscess location it may be differentiated into the following:[1]

3. Shape and location of the abscess

On the basis of shape and location it may be classified as:[1]

  • This is the most common type
  • Inferior cap-type abscess are at highest incidence of extraperitonsillar spread than the other categories of peritonsillar abscess.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Kawabata M, Umakoshi M, Makise T, Miyashita K, Harada M, Nagano H; et al. (2016). "Clinical classification of peritonsillar abscess based on CT and indications for immediate abscess tonsillectomy". Auris Nasus Larynx. 43 (2): 182–6. doi:10.1016/j.anl.2015.09.014. PMID 26527518.

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