Use of Needle Guide for Dynamic Real-Time Ultrasound-Directed Aspiration of Peritonsillar Abscess in the Emergency Department: A Case Series

Published:December 21, 2022DOI:



      Needle aspiration is a common treatment of peritonsillar abscess (PTA). Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) can be used to guide this procedure. We describe our experience using a commercially available needle guide attached to an endocavitary ultrasound probe for dynamic real-time POCUS-guided PTA needle aspiration.


      A convenience sample of patients were treated using the needle guide. The primary author (P.K.) performed or supervised emergency medicine residents and PAs for each case in which the needle guide was used. The electronic medical records were abstracted for procedure success, various length of stay (LOS) data, and to determine use of computed tomography imaging and otorhinolaryngologist (ENT) consultation. Dynamic POCUS-guided needle aspiration using the needle guide (DNG) was performed on 8 patients. There were no unexpected return visits to the ED or to the ENT clinic for any of the patients. The median time to perform DNG was 9 min (range 8–17 min). Median LOS was 182 min (range 78–287 min). Median time from POCUS order to patient discharge was 82.5 min (range 66–237 min). Median time from starting procedure to discharge was 43 min (range 18–148 min).


      The needle guide is a useful adjunct to assist in PTA drainage. It provided rapid, safe, and efficient care. Additional research is needed to see how this technique compares with more traditional methods of PTA drainage.


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