Abscess, peritonsillar: An abscess behind the tonsils that pushes one of the tonsils toward the uvula (the prominent soft tissue dangling from the back of the palate in the back of the mouth). A peritonsillar abscess is generally very painful and associated with difficulty opening the mouth. If a peritonsillar abscess is untreated, the infection can spread deep into the neck, causing airway obstruction and other life-threatening complications.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016