When an infection forms within the body in a confined space and the tissue around it becomes inflamed, it’s known as an abscess. While they can form anywhere, abscesses commonly form in the groin, breasts, buttocks, gums, and other areas of the body prone to minor trauma. Cellulitis can appear with an abscess or even appear before it. MD First Primary & Urgent Care can help diagnose, treat, and help you prevent abscesses at its Lancaster, SC location.
What Causes An Abscess?
There are multiple causes for abscesses, the most common being the presence of streptococcus and staphylococcus for the majority of instances. Enteric organisms are known to be involved in the formation of perianal abscesses, those that form in or around the anus. Abscesses in the oral cavity typically occur as a result of advanced periodontal disease caused by poor dental hygiene. When an abscess forms, it can create a significant risk for the patient along with causing pain, degrading bone, and otherwise resulting in lasting damage if left untreated.
How Are Abscesses Treated?
The most common approach to abscess treatment is I&D, or incision and drainage. Antibiotic therapy and warm compresses can aid in the resolution of abscesses less than 5mm in size. Larger abscesses will require draining due to the presence of inflammation and pus in the cavity that forms in these cases. Less conservative measures typically aren’t as successful in treating cases of this type.
What Happens If The Abscess Remains Untreated?
There are two typical results in cases where an abscess remains untreated. In some cases, the abscess will remain deep within the body and reabsorb into the system. The other common possibility is that the epithelium will attenuate, resulting in the abscess rupturing at the surface of the skin and draining spontaneously. If this occurs and the abscess was quite large extensive sloughing of the skin can occur, resulting in large scars. Incising and draining the abscess helps to prevent its growth and speed the healing of the area where the abscess formed.
What Should I Expect After An Incision & Drainage Procedure?
The procedure itself is relatively simple and risk-free, especially in cases where the abscess has been treated promptly. The most important post-treatment practice is watching the site closely until it is fully healed to ensure the infection doesn’t recur. If the patient is unable to change their own dressing due to capability or location, family, or other members of their support system must be taught to do so properly.
What Complications Can Occur as Part of an Incision & Drainage Treatment?
The most common problem that occurs as part of the treatment is discomfort due to insufficient or ineffective anesthesia. This can result in pain during the procedure, and for some patients, the incision may be tender following the treatment. Bleeding or scarring may occur, and if the area isn’t properly cared for risk of the abscess reforming exists. In rare cases, the area may become septic, the patient may contract necrotizing fasciitis or damage to the nerves, and blood vessels may occur. In most cases, the procedure has no complications, and the patient will heal well without recurrence of the abscess.
How Do I Care For The Incision & Drainage Site?
It is essential that you keep the area properly covered with an absorbent material after cleaning and drying the wound. Large abscesses may contain packed gauze, which should be removed every other day until the cavity has healed and no longer has space to be packed. If you do not feel you can do this process yourself, you will need to return to the facility as directed to have it done for you. The dressing should be replaced daily, and pain killers may be prescribed if necessary.
If you think you’ve found an abscess, then drop by our offices at 1130 Hwy 9 Bypass W in Lancaster, SC, or make an appointment by calling 1-803-283-2300. Our team of medical experts will be happy to help you resolve your concern and welcome you to our patient family.