Resources

Q

What is abscess drainage?

A

Abscess drainage is a procedure to drain an infection in the body, such as the chest, abdomen, or pelvis, by insertion of a thin tube (catheter) into the abscess to drain the site of the infection. The catheter will drain the abscess from your body.

Q

What does an abscess drainage treat?

A

An abscess drainage treats abscesses that can be found in various places in your body. Abscesses can impair blood flow to neighboring areas of your body. As a result, these areas are deprived of nutrients which can result in the loss of a limb if an abscess is ignored. Treating your abscess early is very important.

Q

What causes an abscess?

A

An abscess can start anywhere in the body where bacteria is infecting tissue. A bacterial infection can cause an abscess to form. Abscesses occur more often in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease), trauma, surgery, or intestinal perforation. They also can be caused by minor breaks and punctures in the skin, obstruction of sweat glands and oil glands, and inflammation of hair follicles. An abscess contains dead cells, bacteria, and other debris, which causes inflammation and pain. People with weakened immune systems may be more prone to abscesses or may have more severe ones.

Q

What are the symptoms of an abscess?

A

Symptoms of abscess include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Infection
  • Pain
Q

Who is at risk for an abscess?

A

An abscess may form in an area of the body from different causes. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease), trauma, surgery, or intestinal perforation are at risk for abscesses. Sometimes abscesses occur after a surgery and will delay your recovery. Although antibiotics can help, they cannot really be effective against a large abscess.

Q

Who is a candidate for abscess drainage?

A

A ultrasound or CT can detect an abscess. You are a candidate for abscess drainage if your physician believes that your abscess can be treated by drainage instead of operation. Very occasionally is an operation required.

Q

What should I expect before my abscess drainage?

A

First you will have blood drawn and an IV (intravenous catheter) of antibiotics to prevent infection. A CT scan will be done to ad the physician in inserting the tube for drainage.

Q

What happens during my abscess drainage?

A

During the procedure you will be attached to a monitor so that IV medications can be given to relax you. The skin over your abscess will be cleaned and numbed. The CT scan will next be used in guiding the physician in inserting a tube into the abscess. The tube will be attached to a drainage bag outside of your body. More than one tube may be required depending on the condition of the abscess.

Q

How successful is abscess drainage?

A

Although there are risks in an abscess draining, it does rid the body of infection so that you can heal quicker from your infection. Usually you will feel better the next day. It will almost certainly result in a great improvement in your medical condition.

Q

What should I expect after the procedure?

A

You will be admitted to the hospital at least overnight to monitor and treat your pain and observe the amount of drainage from your tube. The nurse will teach you how to care for your tube once you return home. You will then set up a date to return for your follow-up CT scan. The physician will let you know how long you will have your tubes. If needed, a home health nurse can come to your home to help you care for your tube(s). The drainage can be sent to the laboratory for tests to show which is the best antibiotic to treat the remaining infection.