Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What is an Abscess?

Skin Abscess refers to an area of a small mass that grows on the skin surface. The area surrounded by this becomes erythematous. The mass may be painful upon palpation. Majority of cases of an abscess are caused due to infections localized to the affected area.

The abscess is filled with pus, dead skin cells, and bacteria. They also feel warm to touch and are easily palpable. An abscess can form at any part of the body; however, they are mostly seen in the armpits, the anal or the vaginal area, the base of spine, and the tooth. An abscess can also form due to infection around a hair follicle. This is referred to as a furuncle.

The difference between a boil and an abscess is that boils can be treated successfully by antibiotics and home treatments but in cases of an Abscess antibiotic treatments alone do not work.

The crux of treatment of an abscess lies on draining the pus that fills it. Whether this takes place on its own or whether any specific treatment is required is what has been discussed below.

Can An Abscess Go Away Without Draining?

The answer to this question depends on the size of the abscess. If the abscess is small and there is not much pus accumulated within it then there are high chances that it will drain on its own thereby shrinking the size of the abscess and causing it to ultimately go away.

However, if the abscess is progressively growing in size then it will require treatment in the form of an incision and drainage where the abscess will be opened by creating an incision and the pus will be drained out completely. The pus is then sent for detailed analysis to identify the cause of the infection.

The patient will then be put on a course of antibiotics to clear the infection away completely. In some cases, the physician may just put an injection through the abscess and inject out the pus.

It must be ensured that the pus is completely drained from the abscess since even a small trace of it will result in recurrence of the abscess. The pus starts to then accumulate again and if it is not drained then the abscess may rupture which is an extremely painful situation. It may also result in the spread of the infection to other areas of the body.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 20, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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