R. Kelly Undergoes Emergency Throat Surgery

Rhythm and Blues singer R. Kelly has been hospitalized after emergency surgery at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  Kelly had been complaining of a sore throat and an examination by a physician revealed an abscess in one of his tonsils. Physicians drained that abscess at the hospital.  Kelly’s publicist, Allan Mayer, said that the singer will be “laid up indefinitely. ”

In 1998, Kelly won three Grammy Awards for his best known hit, I Believe I Can Fly. His most recent album, Love Letter, was released in December 2010. The album includes 15 songs, including a cover of Michael Jackson’s You Are Not Alone, which was written and produced by Kelly as well.

 An abscess is a pocket of pus. You can get an abscess almost anywhere in your body. When an area becomes infected, your body’s immune system tries to fight it. White blood cells go to the infected area, collect within the damaged tissue and cause inflammation. During this process, pus forms. Pus is the buildup of fluid, living and dead white blood cells, dead tissue and bacteria or other foreign substances.

A peritonsillar abscess(PTA) is an abscess that has formed in or right around the tonsils and is a complication of tonsillitis. It is most often caused by a type of bacteria called group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus.

Peritonsillar abscess is usually a disease of older children, adolescents, and young adults. It has become less common with the use of antibiotics to treat tonsillitis.

One or both tonsils become infected. The infection may spread over the roof of the mouth (palate), and to the neck and chest, including the lungs. Swollen tissues may block the airway, which is a life-threatening medical emergency.

Left alone, the abscess can break open (rupture) into the throat, infecting or further blocking the airway.

Symptoms of peritonsillar abscess include:

  • Chills
  • Difficulty opening the mouth, and pain with opening the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling or inability to swallow saliva
  • Swelling of the face
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muffled voice- often described as “hot potato voice”
  • Sore throat (may be severe and is usually on one side)
  • Sore, swollen glands of the jaw and throat

Treatment include drainage of the abscess to remove the pus and relieve the pressure (and thereby the pain), followed by antibiotics to kill any residual germs.

To learn more about peritonsillar abscesses, click here.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real Time Analytics Google Analytics Alternative