Skin Abscess Incision & Drainage | AFC Urgent Care Statesville
Need treatment for an abscess or cyst? AFC Urgent Care can help. We offer Incision & Drainage 7 days a week with no appointment necessary.
What’s the difference between a cyst and an abscess?
Abscesses and cysts are two distinct types of lumps that can form under the skin, caused by different factors.
An abscess results from a bacterial infection that prompts the body to produce white blood cells to fight off the infection, which can lead to the formation of a collection of pus. This thick, yellowish fluid is composed of dead white blood cells, bacteria, and debris. Abscesses can develop anywhere on the body and may be painful, swollen, and warm to the touch.
In contrast, a cyst is a sac or pocket that holds fluid, air, or other materials. Cysts can arise from various factors, such as blocked ducts, infections, or inherited conditions. They often feel firm or spongy to the touch and are usually painless. Cysts can occur on any part of the body but are most frequently found on the skin, ovaries, or kidneys.
Signs & Symptoms of a Skin Abscess
While the symptoms of an abscess may vary based on its location, several common signs and symptoms can help you recognize it.
The pain associated with abscesses can intensify over time as the abscess grows, causing a dull ache or sharp stabbing sensation. Additionally, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Swelling & redness
- Skin feels warm to the touch
- Pus or fluid draining from the abscess
In some cases, an abscess can cause a fever as your body tries to fight off the infection. If the abscess is located near a joint, it may make it difficult to move that area. It is essential to note that some abscesses may not cause symptoms, especially if they are small or deep within the body.
What causes an abscess?
An abscess is formed when bacteria are trapped under the skin due to the blockage of sweat or oil glands. It can result from a cut or injury that makes the skin vulnerable to bacterial infection. People usually seek medical attention when inflammation and infection become intolerable. Those who have diabetes, severe eczema or acne, smoke, are in close contact with someone with a staph infection or have a weakened immune system may be at a higher risk of developing an abscess.
Do I need incision & drainage?
Incision and drainage is a procedure that helps to relieve the discomfort and pressure caused by the accumulation of fluid in abscesses and cysts. Its purpose is to allow the fluid to drain out, thereby reducing the size of the abscess or cyst and preventing the spread of infection. If the procedure is not done, the abscess may not heal fully on its own, and antibiotics alone may not be enough to eliminate the bacteria inside the abscess cavity. Neglecting treatment can result in serious infections such as sepsis or necessitate a debridement procedure to remove the abscess and the dead tissue around it.
What to expect during Incision & Drainage
During the incision and drainage procedure, your AFC provider will begin by administering a local anesthetic to the area surrounding the abscess to ensure that you remain comfortable throughout the procedure. After the area is numbed, your provider will make a small incision in the abscess to allow the pus to drain out. Depending on the size and depth of the abscess, additional incisions may be necessary. Once the procedure is complete, the area will be cleaned and dressed with a bandage, and you will receive detailed instructions on how to properly care for the wound at home, including keeping it dry and clean and taking any prescribed antibiotics.
Incision & Drainage Recovery
After an incision and drainage procedure, the time it takes for the wound to heal can vary depending on the abscess’s size, but it usually takes one to two weeks for new skin to grow over the bottom and around the abscess’s sides. Although complications from the procedure are rare, it is essential to contact a medical professional immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Increased pain
- Redness and swelling