Needle aspiration of neck abscesses in children

L Brodsky, W Belles, A Brody, R Squire, J Stanievich, M Volk
Clinical Pediatrics 1992, 31 (2): 71-6
Needle aspiration of neck abscesses with CT-scan guidance was studied in 17 children with 18 abscesses from 1986 to 1991. Clinical and radiologic findings were analyzed according to treatment outcome. A majority of abscesses (55.6%) resolved after treatment with one to two attempts at needle aspiration and parenteral antibiotics. Unilocular abscesses were more likely than multilocular abscesses to resolve with needle aspiration. In general, abscesses in younger children who presented with smaller neck masses on physical examination and smaller abscess cavities on CT scan resolved with needle aspiration. The data support the use of needle aspiration as an effective initial treatment for pediatric neck abscesses. CT scan was found beneficial in documenting the abscesses and in guiding treatment. A treatment protocol is suggested for the use of needle aspiration in the management of neck abscesses in children.

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