A peritonsillar abscess is a bacterial infection that typically occurs as a complication of tonsillitis, notes WebMD. The condition forms in the tissues of the throat next to a tonsil, causing pain and swelling, as well as blockage of the throat in severe cases, making speaking and swallowing difficult.
Peritonsillar abscesses are most common in young adults, adolescents and older children, reports Drugs.com. Symptoms are similar to those of tonsillitis and include tonsil infection, difficulty opening the mouth fully, sore throat and swelling of the face, states Healthline. Risk factors include smoking, chronic tonsillitis and the presence calcium deposits in the tonsils, explains WebMD. Patients with tonsillitis should seek immediate medical attention to prevent the formation of a peritonsillar abscess, advises Drugs.com.