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Abscess Incision And Drainage


  • An abscess incision and drainage is a procedure to cut open the skin and drain pus from the abscess. An abscess is a collection of pus in a warm, red, tender, and swollen lesion (wound). It is most commonly caused by bacteria (germs). An abscess may occur anywhere in or on the body, including the skin. An abscess that needs incision and drainage is usually located deep in soft tissues, such as the thigh.
  • During an abscess incision and drainage, pus that is collected from the abscess may be sent to a lab for tests. A culture or examination of the pus may help your caregiver know what kind of bacteria is causing the infection. A culture will also help your caregiver know what medicines to give you to kill the bacteria.


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Ask your caregiver when you should return to have your wound checked, and the packing and bandage changed.

Wearing a splint:

Caregivers may want you to limit the movement of the affected area for some time. A splint may be placed on your arm, hand, or leg to do this. Keep the part of the body with the wound above the level of your heart if possible. This will help decrease the pain and swelling, and help your wound to heal.

Wound care:

  • Do not remove the bandage over your wound unless your caregiver says it is OK. Keep the bandage clean and dry.
  • Clean the wound as often as ordered by your caregiver. If you cannot reach the wound, have someone help you.
  • Make sure all the gauze used to pack the cavity is taken out and changed. Keep track of how many gauze dressings are placed inside the cavity whenever you do your wound care.
  • Wash your hands before and after taking care of your wound to prevent spreading an infection.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have more swelling, redness, drainage, or bleeding.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your procedure or medicine.


  • You have muscle, joint, or body aches, sweating, or a fever.
  • You have trouble breathing or chest pain all of a sudden.
  • Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.