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a severe form of cellulitis of the submaxillary space and secondary involvement of the sublingual and submental spaces, usually resulting from an infection in the mandibular molar area or a penetrating injury of the floor of the mouth. Elevation of the tongue, difficulty in eating and swallowing, edema of the glottis, fever, rapid breathing, and moderate leukocytosis are the most common symptoms.
Etymology: Wilhelm F. von Ludwig, German surgeon, 1790-1865; L, angina, quinsy
a severe, potentially life-threatening form of cellulitis in the region of the submandibular gland. Inflammatory edema may distort the floor of the mouth and make swallowing difficult. The glottis and tissue fascial planes may swell suddenly, causing respiratory obstruction. Hospitalization, incision, and drainage along with appropriate antibiotic therapy are the usual treatments.