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Pott's puffy tumor in children.

INTRODUCTION: Pott's puffy tumor is characterized by subperiosteal abscess associated with osteomyelitis of frontal bone. Reports are limited for this rare entity in the antibiotics era but increase during past decade.

METHODS: We had clinical analysis of a series with six consecutive pediatric patients of Pott's puffy tumor during 20 years in a tertiary medical center via retrospective chart review. One case was described in detail.

RESULTS: Male-to-female ratio was 5:1. The mean age at the time of diagnosis was 13 years-3 months. The risk factors were acute sinusitis in two (33%), chronic sinusitis in two (33%), recent head trauma in two (33%), and acupuncture therapy on skull in one (17%). The commonest presenting symptoms were fever, headache, forehead tenderness, vomiting, and fatigue/malaise (100%). Pott's puffy tumor was diagnosed on average the seventh day after fever, and half had intracranial involvement at diagnosis. All had intracranial infections, and most of them had subdural empyema. The most often involved sinus was frontal sinus (100%). The frontal lobe was the most common site of intracranial infection (100%), two thirds of which are polymicrobial from two or more sites. The initial operation was performed on average on the 5.8th days after diagnosis. Half of the patients underwent reoperation. The mortality rate was 17% (one of six).

CONCLUSION: The symptoms of Pott's puffy tumor are inconspicuous even though early intracranial involvement often occurred. The importance of early diagnosis and aggravated and prompt treatment with prolonged antibiotic therapy is emphasized for better outcome.

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