Abscess incision and drainage

What is an abscess? 

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 drainage 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 drainage 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?

General complications of any operation:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Blood clots
  • 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

The costs of this procedure 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.

Acknowledgements Author: Mr Ayan Banerjea MRCS and Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.) Copyright 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. This information is produced by EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by BMI Healthcare. You may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information other than for your personal, non-commercial use. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.


Abscess drainage or blood clot collection

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £1,545 Included £1,545
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £1,745
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £1,545
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees Included
Total £1,745

Terms & Conditions

Treatment prices displayed are a guide for initial consultation, and a guide price for our fixed price packages which include pre-assessment, procedure and aftercare. Your Consultant will be able to discuss costs in greater detail at your consultation, after which a quote of your fixed price package will be provided [which is subject to results of any pre-assessment tests]. Prices can be subject to change.

For more information please refer to our terms and conditions (large print version).

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