Surgery for perianal abscess
Surgical treatment for perianal abscess is most often drainage of the pus. This is done in a small operation. An opening is made in the skin over the abscess to allow the pus to drain out from the infected cavity. The skin opening is not closed after the procedure, and you will need to clean and pack the wound daily. A larger or deeper abscess may require surgery performed under anaesthesia and hospitalisation.
Why do surgery for perianal abscess?
Unlike other infections, antibiotics are generally not effective in treating perianal abscess. This is because antibiotics are unable to enter the fluid contained inside an abscess. If adequately treated and properly healed through surgery, the abscess will usually not re-occur. It is important to follow the instructions of your doctor to prevent recurrence.
What to expect?
Before the procedure
- Your doctor may advise you to stop any medication you are on a week before the surgery.
- Stop smoking before the surgery and during the healing process.
- Follow all instructions on when to stop eating and drinking prior to the surgery.
During the procedure
- You will be administered anaesthesia to help you fall asleep during the operation.
- Your surgeon will cut into the lining of the abscess. This allows the pus to be drained, leaving the cavity open to the skin.
- Once an abscess is opened, your surgeon will clean the wound with saline to kill possible bacteria.Your surgeon may cover the abscess wound using gauze to absorb the discharge for the next 24 to 48 hours.
- In cases where the abscess is deeper, the doctor may insert a drainage tube next. This is done before the surgeon covers the wound with a pack. A sterile dressing is applied.
- After a few days, the tube is removed. The abscess wound will heal by itself.
After the procedure
- Most patients are discharged on the day or the day after surgery.
- Discomfort is usually slight to moderate and can be controlled with pain killer medications.
- You may be prescribed antibiotics to aid the healing process.
- You may be prescribed laxatives to ease bowel movement.
- Wear a gauze pad or mini-pad so that the drainage will not soil clothes.
- You will need to change the dressing daily.
- You will be able to resume daily activities within a few days but do avoid any strenuous activity.
- Schedule an appointment to follow up within 1 to 2 weeks after the operation.