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Abscess incision and drainage

You can get an abscess anywhere in your body, which can cause a painful lump and can make you feel unwell.

close-up abscess on child skin
An abscess is a collection of pus surrounded by a wall of tissue. It causes a painful lump and can make you feel unwell. An abscess happens when your body tries to control infection by forming a wall around an infected area. Pus forms within this wall. As the amount of pus increases, the lump grows and causes pain. You can get an abscess anywhere in your body.

You should no longer have the abscess and should be free of pain. Surgery should prevent the serious complications that an abscess can cause.

If an abscess is small, antibiotics may work but will not be effective in most cases. Sometimes draining the pus with a needle can help but the pus may come back.

A small abscess can be drained under a local anaesthetic, but most need a general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes 10 to 20 minutes. Your surgeon will make a cut on your skin over the abscess. This allows the pus to drain out. Once the pus has been removed, the cavity needs to heal upwards from the inside out, so the opening in your skin is left open. If the cavity is deep, your surgeon will place a pack (antiseptic dressing) in it to keep it open, allowing pus to drain out and your wound to heal properly.

Like all surgical procedures, there are some complications that can be serious and can even cause death. Please bear in mind the general and specific complications regarding this type of operation.

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Unsightly scarring of the skin
  • Blood clot in your leg
  • Blood clot in your lung

  • The abscess keeps coming back
  • Slow healing, if your wound was packed

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after. Depending on your recovery after the operation, your doctor will tell you when you can return to work. However, 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 the serious complications that an abscess can cause. To find out more, call us on 0808 101 0337.

Authors: Mr Ayan Banerjea FRCS (Gen. Surg.), Mr Simon Parsons DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)

Illustrator: Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com

Abscess drainage or blood clot collection

Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic Investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Guide price
Hospital fees N/A Not included £2,075 Included £2,075
Consultants fees from £200 N/A Included Included £200
Guide price £2,275

Specialists offering Abscess incision and drainage

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Mr Andrew McLaren

Consultant Endocrine and General Surgeon

BA, BM, BcH, DM, FRCS

The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

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Mr Andrew Huang

Consultant Laparoscopic, Colorectal and General Surgeon

BSc (Hons), MB, ChB (Hons), MS (Lond), FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Gen Surg)

The Shelburne Hospital 1 more The Chiltern Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Shaun Appleton

Consultant General and Gastrointestinal Surgeon

MB BS, MS, FRCS

The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Christopher Gatzen

Consultant Laparoscopic General and Colorectal Surgeon

FRCS Ed, FRCS Gen Surg, FMGEMS

The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Arnold Goede

Consultant General Surgeon

MBChB, MS, FRCS (Gen Surg)

The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Rame Sunthareswaran

Consultant General Surgeon

MB BS BSc(Hons), FRCSEng(Gen), FRCSEng(Vasc), RCPathME

The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

View profile Book online

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