Diabetes or other conditions that weaken the immune system
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor will examine the abscess.
An ultrasound or other imaging method may be used if the abscess is large or deep. Blood tests may also be used to find out how severe the infection is.
Your doctor may make sure your
A local anesthesia will be applied to your skin. This will make the area numb.
Description of Procedure
Most of the time, this procedure can be done in your doctor’s office. Large, deep abscesses, or abscesses in sensitive areas (such as near the anus) may require treatment in the hospital.
The area will be wiped with a special cleansing fluid. Anesthesia will be applied. A small incision will be made. A syringe or catheter may be used to drain the pus from the abscess or the pus may be squeezed out. Gauze may be used to soak up the fluid. A clean water mixture will be used to flush the area.
A tool may be used to explore inside the cut. It can also help break down the abscess. A sample of the bacteria may be taken with a cotton swab for testing. Sometimes, the doctor will decide to pack the wound with clean gauze. This will help make sure the abscess does not form again. If this happens, you will come back in 1-2 days to remove or replace the packing. Gauze and dressing tape will be used to cover the wound.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
The procedure should not hurt. You may feel a slight pinch and burning when the local anesthetic is injected.
The skin should heal completely in about 14 days. Home care will focus on pain and infection control. You may need to limit movement of the affected area to give it time to heal. Follow instructions on how to clean and replace bandages.
Call Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications such as:
Worsening pain, redness, swelling, and bleeding
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Changes in discharge such as pus
If you think you an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Last reviewed November 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 12/20/2014
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