What does abscess mean?

Asked by: Hannah Anderson  |  Last update: 18 June 2021
Score: 4.5/5 (54 votes)

An abscess is a painful collection of pus, usually caused by a bacterial infection. Abscesses can develop anywhere in the body. This article focuses on 2 types of abscess: skin abscesses – which develop under the skin. internal abscesses – which develop inside the body, in an organ or in the spaces between organs.

View full answer

Similarly one may ask, What does an abscess look like?

Abscesses usually are red, swollen, and warm to the touch, and might leak fluid. They can develop on top of the skin, under the skin, in a tooth, or even deep inside the body. On top of the skin, an abscess might look like an unhealed wound or a pimple; underneath the skin, it may create a swollen bump.

Accordingly, How serious is an abscess?. Abscesses contain pus or clear fluid and typically do not pose a threat to a person's health. Larger abscesses may require medical intervention, but they are not necessarily dangerous. However, in some cases, leaving a skin abscess untreated can lead to severe complications.

Herein, How is an abscess removed?

The abscess drainage procedure itself is fairly simple:
  1. Your doctor makes an incision through the numbed skin over the abscess.
  2. Pus is drained out of the abscess pocket.
  3. After the pus has drained out, your doctor cleans out the pocket with a sterile saline solution.


When should I be worried about an abscess?

Call your doctor if any of the following occur with an abscess: You have a sore larger than 1 cm or a half-inch across. The sore continues to enlarge or becomes more painful. The sore is on or near your rectal or groin area.

36 related questions found

Should I brush my teeth if I have an abscess?

Dental Abscess Dangers

If treated promptly you may be able to avoid having the infected tooth removed. Don't stop your oral hygiene routine: Continue to brush and floss. Don't be fooled if your dental abscess stops hurting: Pain associated with a dental abscess may go away if the tooth root has died.

How long can an abscess go untreated?

If left untreated, the abscess may spread to your brain or spinal cord. The abscess is large, hasn't healed within two weeks, and you also have a fever. The abscess appears to be spreading to other parts of your body. The abscess is becoming more painful or is throbbing.

Is abscess surgery painful?

Everything you need to know about this procedure for women

Abscesses can be quite painful and, if left untreated, they can cause more complications. Small abscesses may be treated with antibiotics and warm compresses, but sometimes this isn't enough.

How long does abscess surgery take?

An incision and drainage abscess procedure can take between ten to 45 minutes, depending on the size and deepness of your abscess, though occasionally an overnight stay is required. Once you have been discharged, arrangements will be made for the abscess site to be regularly cleaned and dressed.

What is the best antibiotic for abscess?

For patients who decide to initiate antibiotic treatment, reasonable choices include either TMP-SMX or clindamycin. In some settings, cephalosporins or other antibiotics are often prescribed for skin abscesses.

How do you stop an abscess?

Preventing a skin abscess
  1. washing your hands regularly.
  2. encouraging people in your family to wash their hands regularly.
  3. using separate towels and not sharing baths.
  4. waiting until your skin abscess is fully treated and healed before using any communal equipment, such as gym equipment, saunas or swimming pools.

Can you get sepsis from an abscess?

When an infection occurs, bacteria can move out of the tooth to the bone or tissue below, forming a dental abscess. A dental infection can lead to sepsis. Sometimes incorrectly called blood poisoning, sepsis is the body's often deadly response to infection.

Can stress cause an abscess?

Dental abscesses and stress

'An abscess can sometimes occur during times of stress, as your body's ability to fight off infections can become compromised,' says Dr Marques.

How serious is an abdominal abscess?

An untreated abdominal abscess can be life threatening. In some cases it may grow, causing damage to nearby organs and blood vessels. Bacteria can also enter the bloodstream, spreading to other organs and tissues. This spread can be fatal.

How do you burst an abscess?

Most abscesses can be managed at home. If you think you have a skin abscess, avoid touching, pushing, popping, or squeezing it. Doing that can spread the infection or push it deeper inside the body, making things worse. Try using a warm compress to see if that opens up the abscess so it can drain.

How do you clean an abscess?

Gently clean out all loose debris with a Q-tip or washcloth. If your wound is not draining much, moisten a piece of gauze with saline, and gently place gauze into the deepest part of the wound. Do not pack tightly, but do keep the wound edges from touching, so that the wound can heal from the inside out.

What can I expect after an abscess surgery?

Your Recovery

Most of the pain that was caused by your abscess will probably go away right after surgery. But you may have some mild pain in your anal area from the incision for several days after the surgery. Most people can go back to work or their normal routine 1 or 2 days after surgery.

Do they put you to sleep to drain an abscess?

If your skin abscess needs draining, you'll probably have a small operation carried out under anaesthetic – usually a local anaesthetic, where you remain awake and the area around the abscess is numbed. During the procedure, the surgeon cuts into the abscess, to allow the pus to drain out.

How painful is draining an abscess?

The procedure should not hurt. You may feel a slight pinch and burning when the local anesthetic is injected.