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Lingual abscess: a case report

Authors Bekele K, Markos D

Received 23 April 2017

Accepted for publication 17 July 2017

Published 16 August 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 285—287


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ronald Prineas

Kebebe Bekele,1 Desalegn Markos2

1Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, Madda Walabu University, Bale Goba, 2Department of Neonatology Nursing, St. Paul Hospital Millennium Medical College, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Background: Lingual abscesses have become extremely rare since the discovery of antibiotics, despite the relatively frequent exposure of tongue to bite trauma during mastication and seizures. It is a potentially life-threatening clinical entity. Even though there were some case reports on tongue abscess from overseas, none of them were reported from Africa, particularly from Ethiopia.
Case presentation: A 36-year-old male patient with severe, continuous pain and swelling of tongue for 6 weeks was presented to Goba Referral Hospital. The swelling was 2 cm by 1 cm, located on posterior central tongue, and frank pus oozed from the center of the swelling. He had associated dysphagia, odynophagia, and speech difficulty. He had no previous personal and family history of similar illness and tonsillitis. Gram staining revealed the presence of Gram-positive cocci in clusters. Pyogenic lingual abscess was the diagnosis. Treatment included incision and drainage with the administration of systemic antibiotics, which covered both aerobic and anaerobic organisms, and anti-pain drugs. The condition did not relapse in 6 months of follow-up.
Conclusion: Lingual abscess should be considered in patients presenting with tongue swelling, dysphagia, odynophagia, and speech difficulty. Since lingual abscess that occurs on the posterior part of the tongue has diagnostic difficulty, professionals in rural setup where diagnostic resources (such as ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) are scarce should be careful not to misdiagnose it. Incision and drainage with the administration of systemic antibiotics and anti-pain drugs is an effective treatment option for lingual abscess.

Keywords: lingual abscesses, tongue abscess, swelling, incision, drainage, case report

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