retropharyngeal abscess

Last reviewed 01/2022

Retropharyngeal abscess is usually seen in infants or young children.

It may be caused by an upper respiratory tract infection that then causes an adenitis. The adenitis, which is in the retropharyngeal nodes, suppurates and forms an abscess.

The abscess is limited to one side of the midline. This is because of the intervening median raphe of the bucco-pharyngeal fascia which is firmly attached to the pre-vertebral fascia.