What is a Quinsy?


A quinsy is a peritonsillar abscess often caused by a streptococcal infection which arises as a complication of a sore throat and often tonsillitis. 


The abscess usually develops on one side at the back of the throat and can push your uvula across as shown below. 


Quinsy arises in about 1 in 1,000 patients with a sore throat so it is not a common problem. 



Sore throat




Pain on swallowing 


Difficulty in swallowing


Difficulty opening your mouth ( trismus )


Difficulty speaking 


Dribbling of saliva 


Feeling generally unwell








Neck swelling


Bad breath 


Analgesia such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. 


Gargle with mouthwash or salt water 


Oral numbing sprays 


Stop smoking 




Rest and fluids 




In most cases, the abscess will need to be drained by an ENT specialist. 


Surgery can involve any of the following - 


Needle Aspiration: A thin needle is used to withdraw pus from the abscess after numbing the throat with an anaesthetic spray. 


Incision and drainage: A cut is made in the abscess to allow the pus to drain out. 


Tonsillectomy: Usually the last option if you have a very severe case of quinsy or have recurrent episodes. 


About 15 percent of patients will suffer another episode of quinsy after initial infection. 



Don’t share toothbrushes or cutlery with anyone who has tonsillitis and always maintain high levels of hygiene by washing your hands regularly with soapy water. 

If you are worried about a sore throat then you can start a diagnosis.

Article written by Dr S Noorpuri
Disclaimer: This article is solely for information purposes. It is not to replace a consultation with a qualified health professional. It should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. The article is based on the opinions of the author who retains copyright. You are advised to make your own health decisions based on your research and alongside a qualified health professional. Please consult a doctor if you have any health concerns.

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