What is an Abscess?
An abscess is a painful infection that is the result of blocked oil or sweat glands, trapping bacteria. The result is a painful and swollen lump on the skin. Abscesses are commonly found in the pubic region; these may be referred to as a pelvic abscess and can be treated by your gynecologist. In some cases, they are also found around a hair follicle (referred to as a boil).
What is Incision and Draining of Abscesses?
Incision and draining of an abscess is a simple procedure performed by your doctor to remove the abscess and treat the infection. This procedure can be completed quickly and painlessly by your gynecologist when abscesses form in the pelvic region. It is important not to attempt to remove an abscess at home to avoid additional complications or infections.
When is Incision and Draining of Abscesses Necessary?
Most abscesses will resolve on their own and do not require treatment from a medical professional. However, some patients may experience persistent or recurring abscesses that must be removed. If left untreated, the infection can spread throughout the body and cause serious or life-threatening complications. If you notice an abscess in the pelvic area, you can treat it at home with a warm compress. If the abscess persists, grows larger, or you have other health concerns or are immunocompromised, you should see a gynecologist.
The Incision and Draining Procedure
The first step of the incision and draining (I & D) procedure is to completely sterilize the area. Your gynecologist will then use a local anesthetic such as lidocaine to numb the treatment area. Once the area is sufficiently numbed, your gynecologist will make an incision and drain the pus and infected material from the abscess. Following this step, the area will be cleansed with sterile saline solution. With the abscess drained and cleansed, the wound is then dressed to keep the area clean and absorb any liquid, allowing the area to heal.
Recovery After Incision and Draining of Abscesses
A majority of patients will have no downtime after their abscess I & D. This depends on the severity of your abscess. Your gynecologist may prescribe antibiotics or pain medication depending on the extent of the infection or procedure.
After an I & D, you can expect some drainage from the treated abscess for a few days. Your gynecologist will explain how to care for dressings or bandages during this time. Be sure to keep the area clean with soap and water before applying fresh dressings according to your gynecologist’s instructions. If you have symptoms such as worsening pain, redness, swelling, or fever, you should call your doctor, because these can be signs of infection. Most patients will be completely healed within 1-2 weeks after abscess I & D.
Schedule an Appointment
If you notice an abscess in the pelvic region, schedule an appointment with a gynecologist at Carnegie Women’s Health. Call our Manhattan office at (315) 628-7063 or contact us online.