• Abscess

An abscess is a collection of pus that has built up within the tissue of the body. Signs and symptoms of abscesses include redness, pain, warmth, and swelling. The swelling may feel fluid filled when pressed. The area of redness often extends beyond the swelling. Carbuncles and boils are types of abscess that often involve hair follicles with carbuncles being larger.

They are usually caused by a bacterial infection. Often many different types of bacteria are involved in a single infection. In the United States and many other areas of the world the most common bacteria present is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Rarely, parasites can cause abscesses and this is more common in the developing world. Diagnosis of a skin abscess is usually made based on what it looks like and is confirmed by cutting it open.[1] Ultrasound imaging may be useful in cases in which the diagnosis is not clear. In abscesses around the anus, computer tomography (CT) may be important to look for deeper infection.

Abscesses may occur in any kind of solid tissue but most frequently on skin surface (where they may be superficial pustules (boils) or deep skin abscesses), in the lungs, brain, teeth, kidneys and tonsils. Major complications are spreading of the abscess material to adjacent or remote tissues and extensive regional tissue death (gangrene).

The main symptoms and signs of a skin abscess are redness, heat, swelling, pain and loss of function. There may also be high temperature (fever) and chills.

An internal abscess is more difficult to identify, but signs include pain in the affected area, a high temperature, and generally feeling unwell. Internal abscesses rarely heal themselves, so prompt medical attention is indicated if such an abscess is suspected. An abscess could potentially be fatal (although this is rare) if it compresses vital structures such as the trachea in the context of a deep neck abscess.

If superficial, abscesses may be fluctuant when palpated. This is a wave-like motion that is caused by movement of the pus inside the abscess.

Abscesses may occur in any kind of solid tissue but most frequently on skin surface (where they may be superficial pustules (boils) or deep skin abscesses), in the lungs, brain, teeth, kidneys and tonsils. Major complications are spreading of the abscess material to adjacent or remote tissues and extensive regional tissue death (gangrene).

The main symptoms and signs of a skin abscess are redness, heat, swelling, pain and loss of function. There may also be high temperature (fever) and chills.

An internal abscess is more difficult to identify, but signs include pain in the affected area, a high temperature, and generally feeling unwell. Internal abscesses rarely heal themselves, so prompt medical attention is indicated if such an abscess is suspected. An abscess could potentially be fatal (although this is rare) if it compresses vital structures such as the trachea in the context of a deep neck abscess.

If superficial, abscesses may be fluctuant when palpated. This is a wave-like motion that is caused by movement of the pus inside the abscess.


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Abscess

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