Management of pediatric orbital cellulitis in patients with radiographic findings of subperiosteal abscess

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Controversies remain regarding the management of orbital cellulitis (OC). The objective of this study was to examine the outcomes of patients admitted to our institution for orbital cellulitis during a 7-year period.


Case series with chart review.


Tertiary referral pediatric hospital.


Charts of 465 consecutive OC admissions were reviewed for presentation, imaging, medical and surgical treatment, and outcome.


Of these patients, 189 were treated in the emergency room and 276 were admitted. CT scan was performed on 240 patients. Subperiosteal abscess (SPA) was noted in 68 patients. Of these, 47 were treated medically and 21 had surgery. Surgical patients were older (8.3 vs 6.2 years, P = 0.039), had larger abscesses (>10 mm, P < 0.001), required a longer admission (10.2 vs 6.6 days, P < 0.001), and had higher temperatures on admission (38.0°C vs 37.3°C, P = 0.03).


The majority of small SPAs as diagnosed on CT scans in younger children can be successfully treated medically. Surgery, however, should be considered for a worsening clinical examination. Our findings confirm those of previous reports on this clinical entity.

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