Successful Management of an Acute Case of Orbital Cellulitis of Odontogenic Origin : Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock

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Successful Management of an Acute Case of Orbital Cellulitis of Odontogenic Origin

Panda, Bijnya Birajita; Behera, Subhrasarita1; Vishwanath, Shilpa

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Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock 16(1):p 29-30, Jan–Mar 2023. | DOI: 10.4103/jets.jets_112_22
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Dental infections left untreated can progress through tissue planes into the orbital space through sinuses and result in orbital abscess which is an ophthalmic emergency. We describe the case of a 47-year-old female, a known diabetic who presented with complaints of severe swelling and pain in periorbital region, associated with fever, vomiting, and prostration for 20 days’ duration. She gave a history of repeated episodes of dental pain arising out of her impacted upper third molar tooth for the past 2 months. Ocular examination of the right eye showed significant proptosis of 24 mm, restriction of extraocular movements in all directions, normal pupillary reaction with best-corrected visual acuity of 6/24, and intraocular pressure of 21 mm of Hg [Figure 1a]. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed heterogeneous multifocal lesions in the right orbit with T1 hypointensity, T2 hyperintensities with internal septation in the intra-conal and extraconal compartments producing compression over the globe [Figure 1b]. Dental X-ray was suggestive of impacted right maxillary third molar tooth [Figure 1c]. On the second day of her hospital stay, she developed multiple upper and lower eyelid pre-septal and post-septal abscesses which were drained, and the pus was sent for culture and sensitivity. Systemic antibiotics were started in the form of intravenous piperacillin/tazobactam (4.0/0.5 g) 8 hourly, metronidazole (500 mg/100 ml) 8 hourly, and oral linezolid (600 mg) 12 hourly. Blood sugars were monitored and insulin was administered as per her requirement. She was referred to dental surgeon for extraction of the impacted molar tooth. She recovered completely with best-corrected visual acuity of 6/9 and intraocular pressure of 16 mm of Hg. She showed remarkable improvement at 2 weeks after tooth extraction [Figure 1d].

Figure 1:
(a) Clinical photograph at presentation showing severe proptosis, complete ptosis, erythema, restricted extraocular movements, and pus pointing over lower eyelid skin. (b) MRI sagittal section T1 image showing multiloculated abscesses in intraconal and extraconal compartment of right orbit causing compression of eyeball. (c) Right maxillary posterior intraoral periapical radiograph showing impacted upper third molar tooth. (d) Clinical photograph of the same patient after two weeks with complete resolution of edema, proptosis, and extraocular movements. MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging

Orbital cellulitis secondary to dental infection is rare accounting for 2%-5% of all cases of orbital infections.[1] To add to its rarity, orbital abscess constitutes less than 1.3% of abscesses seen in maxillofacial region.[2] Surgical drainage of the abscess and pus sample collection is a recommended modality of treatment as reported by many authors.[3,4] Empirical antibiotics and proper intravenous fluid hydration are mainstay of treatment. Systemic corticosteroids fasten the resolution of inflammation and duration of hospital stay.[5] A multidisciplinary approach with dentists, diabetologists, and ophthalmologists is required to prevent serious complications of venous sinus thrombosis.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient has given her consent for her images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patient understands that her name and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal her identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Research quality and ethics statement

The authors followed applicable EQUATOR Network ( guidelines, notably the CARE guideline, during the conduct of this report.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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