Why are some cervical abscesses resistant to antibiotic treatment? The authors postulate that a biofilm develops to allow the bacteria to overcome normal host defences. They investigated the micro-environment of deep neck abscesses in a largely paediatric cohort. Biopsies of abscess walls were taken and processed for electron microscopy scanning. Twelve of 14 demonstrated cocci and rods embedded in a 3-dimensional matrix – all features of a biofilm. This may explain why so many abscesses, particularly large ones, are difficult to treat with antibiotics alone.