Retropharyngeal Abscess Quiz

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Rohini R, MD (Ear, nose, throat (ENT))

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Learn more about Retropharyngeal abscess

Content updated on Nov 2, 2022

What is retropharyngeal abscess?

A retropharyngeal abscess is uncommon but potentially life-threatening. It is an infection that forms behind the back wall of the throat.

Symptoms of retropharyngeal abscess

  • Swollen lymph nodes, usually small swellings at the neck, armpits, groin and behind the ears

  • Neck pain or stiffness

  • Sore throat

  • Lymph node swelling that is persistent and increasing in size

  • Fever

  • Difficulty swallowing food due to throat pain

  • Throat swelling

  • Throat redness

Questions your doctor may ask to check for retropharyngeal abscess

Your doctor may ask these questions to diagnose retropharyngeal abscess

  • Do you feel your lymph nodes are swollen and enlarged?

  • Do you have neck pain or stiffness?

  • Do you have a sore throat?

  • Has your swollen lymph nodes continue to grow larger?

  • Do you have a fever?

Treatment for retropharyngeal abscess

Immediate management of retropharyngeal abscess includes attention to the airway, fluid resuscitation if necessary and antibiotic therapy. Surgical drainage is the mainstay of treatment.

View the symptoms of Retropharyngeal abscess


  • Giordano D, Pernice C. Retropharyngeal Abscess. N Engl J Med. 2022 Jul 21;387(3):260. doi: 10.1056/NEJMicm2119678. PMID: 35857662.

  • Ali NE, Alyono JC, Koltai PJ. Neonatal retropharyngeal abscess with complications: Apnea and cervical osteomyelitis. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2019 Nov;126:109613. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2019.109613. Epub 2019 Jul 31. PMID: 31382216.

Reviewed By:

Rohini R

Rohini R, MD (Ear, nose, throat (ENT))

From our team of 50+ doctors

Just 3 minutes.
Developed by doctors.

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Shohei Harase

Shohei Harase, MD


Kameda Medical Center, Japan

Yu Shirai

Yu Shirai, MD


Yotsuya Yui Clinic, Japan

Yoshinori Abe

Yoshinori Abe, MD

Internal medicine

Co-founder of Ubie, Inc.

Rohini R

Rohini R, MD

Ear, nose, throat (ENT)

Bayshore Health Centre, India

Seiji Kanazawa

Seiji Kanazawa, MD, PHD

Obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN)

National Center for Child Health and Development, Japan

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