Home | Surgical Dermatology | Incision and Drainage of Abscess

What is an Abscess?

An abscess (aka boil) is a bump that appears below the skin’s surface that is filled with pus and often bacteria. Most abscesses are caused by a bacterial infection. They can appear on any area of the body, but most commonly develop on the face, chest, back, groin, underarms, or buttocks.

Common abscess symptoms include:

  • A painful mass that is red, tender, and warm to the touch
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swelling
  • Inflamed skin

Who is a Good Candidate for Incision and Drainage of Abscess?

Anyone with the following should contact a doctor for incision and drainage of an abscess:

  • Have an abscess that is larger than half an inch across
  • The abscess continues to grow and become more painful
  • The abscess is on or near your groin or rectal area
  • A fever develops
  • Red streaks appear near the abscess, which can mean the infection is spreading

The best way to determine if this treatment is right for you is through a consultation with one of our dermatologists, during which we will assess the abscess.

What to Expect During Incision and Drainage of Abscess?

During this procedure, the area around the abscess will first be numbed with a local anesthetic. Then, an antiseptic solution will be applied to the area. Your dermatologist will cut open the abscess and drain all pus and perform a bacterial culture. Once the sore has drained, packing may be placed into the cavity to allow the infection to continue to drain. You may be instructed to keep the cavity open for a day or two. Oral antibiotics are often prescribed to treat Staph aureus infection. Over-the-counter pain medication may also be used if needed, as you heal.

Recovery from Incision and Drainage of Abscess

There is usually little to no downtime following this procedure incision and drainage of an abscess, depending on the size of the abscess. You will be given instructions on how to remove the packing from the cavity. You will also be told how to best wash the area to prevent infection. Be sure to call our office right away if you experience any redness, swelling, increased pain, or fever. Do not hesitate to contact our office regarding any post-procedure questions.

To prevent abscesses from forming in the future, we recommend maintaining good personal hygiene by washing the skin with soap and warm water regularly. Clean all cuts and scrapes with soap and water, and apply an over-the-counter antibacterial cream when needed. Also, be sure to avoid nicking yourself when shaving in your underarms or near the pubic area.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are concerned about an abscess, contact HMGS Dermatology today to learn more about the incision and drainage of an abscess. A consultation is the first step toward treatment, during which one of our dermatology specialists will assess your abscess to determine the best treatment option.

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