Skin infection surgery

What is surgery for skin abscess?

Surgery for skin abscess is a minor surgery to lance your skin abscess. This means that your surgeon will open and drain the pus from your abscess and relieve the pressure on your wound. Once the abscess has drained, your surgeon will insert packing into the remaining cavity to minimise bleeding. This keeps your wound open for one or two days to allow any remaining pus to drain away. This helps your wound to heal, prevents spread of infection and prevents the abscess from returning.

It can be done as a simple outpatient procedure. Many patients feel better immediately after the abscess has been drained.

What to expect?

Before the procedure

  • You may have to shave the area on your skin according to your surgeon’s directions.
  • You may be given antiseptic agents to rinse the affected area the night before your procedure.
  • Do not apply skin lotions or creams to the area surrounding your abscess.

During the procedure

  • The area surrounding your abscess will be numbed with local anaesthesia.
  • Your skin will be swapped gently with an antiseptic solution to cleanse it.
  • A small cut is made in your abscess to allow the pus to drain out.
  • A small sample of the pus is taken to find out which bacteria the abscess is caused by. This would allow for the right antibiotic to be prescribed to aid in your healing process.
  • Once the pus has drained out, your surgeon will clean your abscess with saline solution to ensure all the pus has been removed.
  • Your abscess will be packed with a sterile dressing for further drainage.

The procedure will last for up to 15 minutes. It may require a longer time should you be placed under general anaesthesia.

After the procedure

  • It may take several hours for the feeling to come back to the affected area.
  • Pain medication might be prescribed depending on the size, site and extent of your wound.
  • You may notice pus or fluid coming out of the wound.
  • The dressing may be removed within one to two days after the procedure.
  • You will be given advice about caring for your wounds to ensure the healing process goes well.
  • You may be discharged from the hospital on the day of the procedure or the following day.
  • You may be prescribed antibiotics to strengthen your immune system or control the infection.
  • Depending on its size, your abscess should heal within two weeks.
  • Your doctor will advise you when you can resume daily activities depending on the extent of surgery and site of abscess
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor one to two weeks after the surgery.