JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Characterization and management of deep neck infections.

A retrospective review was conducted of 91 patients with deep neck infections to determine the pattern of clinical disease and formulate a management plan. The spaces involved, as determined by clinical, radiologic, and operative findings, were the peritonsillar space (72 patients), parapharyngeal space (eight patients) submandibular space (seven patients), retropharyngeal space (one patient) superficial space (one patient), anterior visceral space (one patient), and visceral vascular space (one patient). Of the 19 patients who did not have a peritonsillar space infection the origin of the infection was found in eight; four of these were odontogenic. Thirty-eight patients required surgical drainage of the abscess. Five patients underwent tracheotomy due to increasing dyspnea. One patient with diabetes mellitus and a past history of myocardial infarction died of unknown cause. All other patients had an uneventful recovery without major complications. The combination of early radiologic diagnosis, effective antimicrobial therapy, and intensive surgical management contributed to the good prognosis.

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