Microbiology and Antibiotic Sensitivities of Head and Neck Space Infections of Odontogenic Origin

Anthony J. Rega, Shahid R. Aziz, Vincent B. Ziccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to assess the anatomical spaces and causative micro-organisms responsible for deep fascial space head and neck infections and evaluate the resistance of antibiotics used in the treatment of these infections. Patients and Methods: A 6-year retrospective study evaluated hospital records of 103 patients. All patients in this study underwent surgical incision and drainage, received IV antibiotics, and had culture and sensitivity performed. Patient demographics reviewed were gender, age, involved fascial space(s), micro-organisms identified and antibiotic resistance from culture and sensitivity testing. Results: There were 56 male (54%) and 47 (46%) female patients. The submandibular space was the most frequent location for a single space abscess (30%), followed by the buccal space (27.5%) and the lateral pharyngeal space (12.5%). Sixty-three patients presented with multiple space involvement, totaling 142 spaces involved. A total of 269 bacterial strains were isolated from 103 patients. The bacteria were found to be 63.5% gram-positive. Gram-positive cocci were isolated 57.7% of specimens and gram-negative rods were isolated in 33% of cultures. There were 178 aerobes (65.7%) and 91 anaerobes (34.3%) isolated. The most common bacteria isolated were Viridans streptococci, Provetella, Staphylococci, and Peptostreptococcus. Culture and sensitivities were reviewed on 101 patients. Conclusion: Patients who underwent surgical incision and drainage in the operating room had a tendency for involvement of multiple space abscesses with the submandibular space, submental, and lateral pharyngeal spaces effected most frequently. Cultures and sensitivities commonly showed greater growth in aerobes (65.7%) than in anaerobes. Gram positive cocci and gram negative rods had the greatest growth percentage in cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1377-1380
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


Dive into the research topics of 'Microbiology and Antibiotic Sensitivities of Head and Neck Space Infections of Odontogenic Origin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this