An abscess is a collection of pus surrounded by a wall of tissue. An abscess happens when the body tries to control infection. It causes a painful lump and can make you feel unwell.
You can get an abscess anywhere in the body.
What are the benefits of surgery?
You should no longer have the abscess. Surgery should prevent you from having serious complications that an abscess can cause.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
If an abscess is small, antibiotics may work. Sometimes draining the pus with a needle can help.
What does the operation involve?
A small abscess can be drained under a local anaesthetic but most need a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes between ten and twenty minutes.
Your surgeon will make a cut in the skin over the abscess. Once the pus has been removed, the cavity needs to heal upwards from its floor so the opening in the skin is left open. If the cavity is deep, your surgeon will place an antiseptic dressing in it.
What complications can happen?
1 General complications of any operation
2 Specific complications of this operation
Recurrence of the abscess
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day or the day after.
Your doctor will tell you when you can return to work depending on the extent of surgery and your type of work.
Most people make a full recovery and can return to normal activities.
An abscess is a collection of pus that can make you feel unwell. Surgery should prevent you from having serious complications that an abscess can cause.
Paying for your procedure
Abscess incision and drainage costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own procedure the cost will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the procedure. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.
Author: Mr Ayan Banerjea MRCS and Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)
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