Retropharyngeal abscess in children is a rare suppurative complication of upper respiratory infections. Clinical manifestations can be variable but the most common features are fever, neck pain, neck lymphoadenopathy, neck mass, torticollis, neck stiffness, drooling, dysphagia, and sore throat. Less frequently, it might present with respiratory findings. Physical examination can show pharyngeal wall bulging which is pathognomonic but not always present. Retropharyngeal abscess can cause serious complications that might eventually lead to death. The potential seriousness of the pathology has decreased because of advances in imaging allowing an early detection. Indeed, over the years, there has been a remarkable reduction of the incidence of complications and mortality. However, several studies highlight a significant increase in incidence in the last ten years. CT seems to be the gold diagnostic standard because of its high sensitivity. This article provides a review of the recent literature about etiopathogenesis, epidemiology, clinical features, diagnosis and therapy. Finally, the experience of the authors’ Institution in the last 10 years is reported.
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