Abscess Incision
and Drainage

Abscess Incision and Drainage

An ‘Abscess incision and drainage’ is an operation performed to drain a collection of pus out of a painful infection, called an abscess. Its purpose is to treat the abscess and relieve pain.

Abscess incision and draining at Ramsay Care Health UK

Abscess incision and drainage is a relatively simple procedure that is commonly performed at our first-class facilities by highly experienced general surgeons.

Ramsay Care Health UK is a leading provider of private healthcare in England and has a network of over 35 UK hospitals, all of which are regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission.

We offer convenient and local care without waiting.

What is an abscess?

An abscess is an infection that has produced a collection of pus and it can occur in a variety of sites, especially around the anus.

Often there is an underlying cause such as a skin cyst that has become infected which is caused by a bacterial infection. If it is caught early, enough antibiotics may stop an abscess from developing but once an abscess has appeared, an incision and drainage procedure is required.

Sometimes an abscess will burst by itself and the pus discharge. This may allow the abscess to heal with additional antibiotics however it is not safe to leave an abscess to burst.

What is an incision and drainage operation?

An incision and drainage operation is performed to treat an abscess. The skin around the abscess is cleaned with an antiseptic fluid, and then your doctor will make an incision over the abscess to release the pus. A sample of pus is usually taken to analyse the type of bacteria causing the infection.

The pus is evacuated and the cavity remaining is cleaned and washed. Usually the cavity is packed with either gauze soaked in antiseptic or artificial gauze made from seaweed. The packing prevents the abscess recurring and allows any remaining infection to drain out.

How long does an abscess incision and drainage procedure take?

An incision and drainage abscess procedure can take between ten to 45 minutes, depending on the size and deepness of your abscess, though occasionally an overnight stay is required.

Once you have been discharged, arrangements will be made for the abscess site to be regularly cleaned and dressed. It may take up to 2 to 6 weeks of regular dressings before the area is healed properly.

What is the cost of an abscess incision and drainage?

If you are paying for your drainage surgery you can choose from a number of finance options we have. These include All-inclusive Total Care where a single one-off payment at a pre-agreed price delivers direct access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance, pay as you go and, medical finance loans.

Costs are covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise that you check directly with your insurance provider and get written authorisation before you start your treatment. 

What is the recovery process after an abscess incision and drainage procedure?

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after your incision and drainage abscess procedure.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s post-surgery advice about cleaning your wound and changing dressings. If a gauze packing was put in your wound, it should be removed after one to two days.

You may be given antibiotics that you should take as prescribed. If you need pain relief you can take over-the-counter pain relief as required. Your wound will take one to two weeks to seal over and heal.

Your doctor will let you know when you can return to work.

Mr Donald Menzies

Content reviewed by:

Mr Donald Menzies - General Surgery

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