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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Needle aspiration versus incision and drainage for the treatment of peritonsillar abscess

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, December 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (91st percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (72nd percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
1 blog
8 tweeters
2 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page


30 Dimensions

Readers on

104 Mendeley
Needle aspiration versus incision and drainage for the treatment of peritonsillar abscess
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, December 2016
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd006287.pub4
Pubmed ID

Brent A Chang, Andrew Thamboo, Martin J Burton, Chris Diamond, Desmond A Nunez


Peritonsillar abscess is a common infection presenting as a collection of pus in the peritonsillar area. The condition is characterised by a severe sore throat, difficulty in swallowing and pain on swallowing, fever and malaise, and trismus. Needle aspiration and incision and drainage are the two main treatment modalities currently used in the treatment of this condition. The effectiveness of one versus the other has not been clearly demonstrated and remains an area of debate. To assess the effectiveness and risks of needle aspiration versus incision and drainage for the treatment of peritonsillar abscess in older children (eight years of age or older), adolescents and adults. The Cochrane ENT Information Specialist searched the ENT Trials Register; Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL 2016, Issue 7); Ovid MEDLINE; Ovid Embase; CINAHL; Web of Science; ClinicalTrials.gov; ICTRP and additional sources for published and unpublished trials. The date of the search was 25 August 2016. Randomised controlled trials comparing needle aspiration with incision and drainage. We used the standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Our primary outcomes were recurrence rate (proportion of patients needing repeat intervention) and adverse effects associated with the intervention. Secondary outcomes were time to resumption of normal diet, complications of the disease process and symptom scores. We used GRADE to assess the quality of evidence for each outcome; this is indicated in italics. We included 11 studies (674 participants). The risk of bias was high or unclear in all of the included studies. All studies compared needle aspiration to incision and drainage.All but one of the 11 studies reported on the primary outcome of recurrence. When we pooled data from the 10 studies the recurrence rate was higher in the needle aspiration group compared with incision and drainage: risk ratio (RR) 3.74 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.63 to 8.59; 612 participants). We detected moderate heterogeneity in this analysis (I(2) = 48%). In interpreting the pooled result it is important to note that the evidence for this outcome was of very low quality.None of the other outcomes (adverse effects of the intervention, time to resumption of normal diet, complications of the disease process and symptom scores) were consistently measured across all studies.Only three studies reported on adverse effects/events associated with the intervention and only one such event in a single patient was reported (post-procedure bleeding following incision and drainage: 1/28, 3.6%) (very low-quality evidence). Time to resumption of normal diet was compared in two studies; neither found an obvious difference between needle aspiration and incision and drainage (very low-quality evidence).Only three studies stated that they would report complications of the disease process. In these three studies, the only complication reported was admission to hospital for dehydration in two patients who underwent incision and drainage (2/13, 6.7%). Symptom scores were measured in four studies; three evaluated pain using different scales and one other symptoms. The data could not be pooled in a meta-analysis. Two studies evaluating procedural pain reported this to be lower in the needle aspiration groups. One study found comparable rates of pain resolution at five days post-intervention between groups. The quality of the evidence for symptom scores was very low. Although a number of studies have sought to evaluate whether or not needle aspiration or incision and drainage is more effective in patients with peritonsillar abscess, there is no high-quality evidence to allow a firm conclusion to be drawn and the answer remains uncertain. Very low-quality evidence suggests that incision and drainage may be associated with a lower chance of recurrence than needle aspiration. There is some very low-quality evidence to suggest that needle aspiration is less painful.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 8 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 104 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 104 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 18 17%
Student > Bachelor 16 15%
Student > Postgraduate 9 9%
Student > Doctoral Student 9 9%
Student > Ph. D. Student 7 7%
Other 21 20%
Unknown 24 23%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 44 42%
Nursing and Health Professions 14 13%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 5 5%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 2 2%
Economics, Econometrics and Finance 2 2%
Other 6 6%
Unknown 31 30%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 22. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 12 March 2020.
All research outputs
of 17,363,630 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,660 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 394,142 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 179 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 17,363,630 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 93rd percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,660 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 25.0. This one has done well, scoring higher than 76% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 394,142 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 179 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 72% of its contemporaries.