Neck abscesses can occur following cervical lymphadenopathy. Usually the initial infection is in the skin and soft tissues. Throat infections or dental abscesses can also cause this. An ultrasound or CT scan may aid in the diagnosis. The initial treatment is with antibiotics. If acute, the pus may need to be drained.
Acute deep space neck abscesses can occur in the retropharyngeal and parapharyngeal spaces. The child will be unwell, with a fever, symptoms of airway obstruction and often with limited neck movement. The child may need to admitted in the ICU as the airway may be compromised. Diagnostic imaging in the form of CT scanning is the modality of choice. Intravenous antibiotics will be required and again, the pus may have to be drained.