Abscess

An abscess is a pocket of pus that forms at the site of infected tissue. An abscess can form on the skin or on tissues within the body and cause pain, swelling, and tenderness.

Bacteria are a common cause of the infections that form abscesses.

Depending on the size and location of the abscess, your health professional may treat the abscess by:

  • Using a needle to drain it.
  • Cutting open the abscess to remove the pus and infectious material.
  • Prescribing antibiotics (pills or a shot). This may be adequate treatment if the abscess is small and treatment is not delayed.

Last Updated: December 9, 2008

Author: Jan Nissl, RN, BS

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & C. Dale Mercer, MD, FRCSC, FACS - General Surgery

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