abscess (ab'ses) [L. abscessus, a going away]
ANTECUBITAL ABSCESS: Antecubital abscess opened to allow drainage of infection
A localized collection of pus in any body part, resulting from invasion of a pyogenic bacterium or other pathogen. Staphylococcus aureus
, e.g., methicillin-resistant S. aureus
(MRSA), is a common cause. The abscess is surrounded by a membrane of variable strength created by macrophages, fibrin, and granulation tissue. Abscesses can disrupt function in adjacent tissues and can be life threatening in some circumstances, e.g., in the lung or within the peritoneal cavity. illustration
An abscess associated with significant inflammation, producing intense heat, redness, swelling, and throbbing pain. The tissue over the abscess becomes elevated, soft, and eventually unstable (fluctuant) and discolored as the abscess comes to a head (points). An abscess can rupture spontaneously or be drained via an incision. If it is left untreated, the pathogens may spread to adjacent tissues or to other parts of the body via the bloodstream. Appearance of or increase in fever may indicate sepsis. illustration
An abscess around the root of a tooth in the alveolar cavity. It is usually the result of necrosis and infection of dental pulp following dental caries. See: periapical abscess
An abscess caused by Entamoeba histolytica. Synonym: endamebic abscess
An abscess in the ischiorectal fossa. It may occur in patients with Crohn disease, diabetes mellitus, or anal fissures more often than in other patients. Incision, drainage, and antibiotics usually provide effective treatment. Synonym: rectal abscess; Synonym: ischiorectal abscess
1. An abscess at the apex of a lung.
2. Periapical abscess.
An abscess around an inflamed or ruptured vermiform appendix.
An abscess or multiple abscesses in the axilla, e.g., in patients with hidradenitis suppurativa.
Bartholin abscess See: Bartholin, Caspar (the younger)
An abscess with two pockets.
bile duct abscess
An abscess of the bile duct. Synonym: cholangitic abscess
An abscess of the gallbladder. It is an infrequent complication of cholangitis or obstruction of the bile duct.
bone abscessBrodie abscess.
An intracranial abscess involving the brain or its membranes. It is seldom primary but usually occurs secondary to infections of the middle ear, nasal sinuses, face, or skull or from contamination from penetrating wounds or skull fractures. It may also have a metastatic origin arising from septic foci in the lungs (bronchiectasis, empyema, lung abscess), in bone (osteomyelitis), or in the heart (endocarditis). Infection of nerve tissue by the invading organism results in necrosis and liquefaction of the tissue, with edema of surrounding tissues. Brain abscesses may be acute, subacute, or chronic. Their clinical manifestations depend on the part of the brain involved, the size of the abscess, the virulence of the infecting organism, and other factors. Synonym: cerebral abscess
; intracranial abscess
Symptoms may include headache, fever, vomiting, malaise, irritability, seizures, or paralysis.
The usual treatment is chemotherapy. Surgical drainage may be required.
breast abscessMammary abscess.
Brodie abscess See: Brodie, Sir Benjamin Collins
An abscess in a bursa.
A breast abscess that discharges into the milk ducts.
An abscess in which the pus has a cheesy appearance.
cerebral abscessBrain abscess.
cholangitic abscessBiliary abscess.
An abscess with pus but without signs of inflammation. It usually develops slowly as a result of liquefaction of tuberculous tissue. It may occur anywhere in or on the body but more frequently in the spine, hips, genitourinary tract, and lymph glands. Symptoms may be very mild. Pain, when present, is caused by pressure on surrounding parts; tenderness is often absent. Chronic septic changes accompanied by afternoon fever may occur. Amyloid disease may develop if the abscess persists for a prolonged period. Synonym: cold abscess
circumtonsillar abscessPeritonsillar abscess.
cold abscessChronic abscess.
Two pus-containing cavities, one larger than the other, connected by a narrow channel.
dentoalveolar abscessPeriapical abscess.
An abscess not circumscribed by a well-defined capsule.
An abscess that disappears without pointing or breaking.
embolic abscessMetastatic abscess.
An abscess containing air or gas, produced by organisms such as Clostridium perfringens. Synonym: gas abscess; tympanitic abscess
endamebic abscessAmebic abscess.
epidural abscessExtradural abscess.
An abscess on the dura mater, an occasional cause of back pain in febrile patients, usually in those who inject drugs. Synonym: epidural abscess
An abscess containing both pus and stool. Synonym: stercoraceous abscess; stercoral abscess
An abscess caused by parasitic infection with microfilariae.
An abscess in a follicle.
An abscess caused by a fungus, e.g., mycetoma. Synonym: mycotic abscess
gas abscessEmphysematous abscess.
An abscess of the gum.
helminthic abscessWorm abscess.
An abscess containing blood.
hepatic abscessLiver abscess.
hot abscessAcute abscess.
hypostatic abscessMetastatic abscess.
An abscess of unknown cause.
An abscess in the iliac region.
An abscess in the psoas and iliacus muscles. It typically results from a local or regional spread of an intestinal or renal abscess or from a blood-borne infection, e.g., after a drug injection. Synonym: psoas abscess
intracranial abscessBrain abscess.
An abscess within the layers of the dura mater.
intraperitoneal abscessPeritoneal abscess.
ischiorectal abscessAnorectal abscess.
An abscess in the kidney, typically following pyelonephritis or a blood-borne infection. The most common causative organisms are gram-negative bacteria from the lower urinary tract that spread to the kidneys and Staphylococcus aureus
from a blood-borne infection. Immunocompromised patients may develop abscesses caused by Nocardia, Candida,
Occasionally, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
are responsible agents. Synonym: renal abscess
Antimicrobial agents are used in combination with surgical drainage. Occasionally, nephrectomy or retroperitoneal exploration is required.
An abscess in a lacrimal gland or in a lacrimal duct.
lateral alveolar abscess
An abscess in periodontal tissue.
liver abscess, abscess of the liver
See: hepatic abscess
An abscess in the liver caused by pathogenic organisms such as those of species of Bacteroides
, or Entamoeba histolytica
The patient will have high fevers; sweats and chills; and an enlarged, painful, tender liver. Pus may be obtained by aspiration.
Embolic (multiple) abscesses are generally fatal. Liver abscesses may heal after they have been evacuated and treated with antibiotics.
An abscess in the lumbar region.
An abscess in lung tissue, caused by anaerobic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus or Nocardia species.
An abscess of a lymph node.
An abscess in the female breast, esp. one involving the glandular tissue. It usually occurs during lactation or weaning. Synonym: breast abscess
An abscess of the mastoid portion of the temporal bone.
A secondary abscess at a distance from the focus of infection. Synonym: embolic abscess; hypostatic abscess; wandering abscess
Multiple small embolic abscesses.
A mammary abscess during lactation.
mycotic abscessFungal abscess.
An abscess caused by Nocardia, e.g., in the lung).
An abscess in the orbit of the eye.
An abscess in a maxillary tooth, erupting toward the palate.
An abscess in the tissues of the palm of the hand.
An abscess of pancreatic tissue, usually as a complication of acute pancreatitis or abdominal surgery.
An abscess on the side of the frenulum of the penis.
An abscess between the folds of the broad ligaments of the uterus.
An abscess in the tissues around the kidney. Synonym: perinephric abscess
An abscess in the tissues adjacent to the pancreas. Synonym: peripancreatic abscess
A periodontal abscess arising in the periodontal tissue other than the orifice through which the vascular supply enters the dental pulp.
An abscess of the parotid gland.
An abscess of the pelvic peritoneum, esp. in the pouch of Douglas. It may arise as a complication of a sexually transmitted disease or diverticulitis.
An abscess of the skin around the anus. It usually results from obstruction of intestinal crypts and subsequent fistula formation in the skin. Synonym: periproctic abscess
An abscess at the apex of a tooth, usually resulting from dental caries or tooth trauma. It may be classified further as an acute periapical abscess, a chronic periapical abscess, a periapical granuloma, or a radicular cyst. Synonym: apical abscess
(2); dentoalveolar abscess
An alveolar abscess not involving the apex of a tooth.
An abscess of periodontal tissue.
perinephric abscessParanephric abscess.
An acute or chronic abscess found in the gingiva, periodontal pockets, or periodontal ligament.
peripancreatic abscessParapancreatic abscess.
An abscess in the tissue surrounding the parietal pleura.
periproctic abscessPerianal abscess.
An abscess within the peritoneal cavity usually following peritonitis. It is usually caused by enteric bacteria, e.g., Escherichia coli, enterococci, or Klebsiella. Synonym: intraperitoneal abscess
An abscess of the tissue around the tonsillar capsule. Needle aspiration of the abscess, with subsequent antibiotic therapy, is an effective treatment in 90% of cases. Synonym: circumtonsillar abscess
An abscess in the tissue around a ureter.
An abscess in tissue surrounding the urethra.
An abscess in tissue around the urinary bladder.
An abscess due to infection with pneumococci.
An abscess of the lacrimal sac, producing an inflamed, tender swelling at the inner canthus of the eye.
A subcutaneous or subareolar abscess of the mammary gland.
An abscess within the prostate gland.
An abscess caused by a protozoon.
psoas abscessIliopsoas abscess.
1. An abscess in the pulp chamber of a tooth.
2. An abscess of the tissues of the pulp of a finger.
A metastatic abscess, usually multiple, due to pyogenic organisms.
rectal abscessAnorectal abscess.
renal abscessKidney abscess.
An abscess located behind the cecum. It is an occasional, severe complication of a ruptured appendix or Crohn disease.
An abscess between the mammary gland and the chest wall.
An abscess located between the peritoneum and the posterior abdominal wall. It may arise from an abscess in the kidney or from the spread of an intraperitoneal infection posteriorly.
An abscess of the lymph nodes in the walls of the pharynx. It sometimes simulates diphtheritic pharyngitis.
Staphylococcus aureus and group A hemolytic streptococcus are the most common pathogens.
Typically, a history of pharyngitis is elicited. This is followed by high fever, dysphagia, and refusal to eat. The condition progresses to respiratory distress with hyperextension of the head (“sniffing position”), tachypnea, labored breathing, and drooling. An exquisitely tender bulge in the pharyngeal wall is usually evident.
A retropharyngeal abscess, if fluctuant, should be treated with incision and drainage. If recognized before becoming fluctuant, the abscess should be treated with antibiotics, intravenously administered if the patient is unable to swallow.
An abscess behind the bladder.
A colloquial and veterinary term for periapical abscess.
A colloquial term for a bacterial infection that surrounds a fingernail; a paronychia.
An abscess over the sacrum and coccyx.
An abscess resulting from septicemia.
An abscess of the seminiferous tubules.
An abscess due to necrosis of a vertebra.
An abscess of the spleen. It may arise either from the spread of infection from a neighboring organ (that is, a diverticular abscess or a ruptured gastric ulcer) or from hematogenous spread in patients with infective endocarditis.
stercoraceous abscessFecal abscess
stercoral abscessFecal abscess.
An abscess from which microorganisms cannot be cultivated, an occasional complication of intramuscular injection.
An abscess formed about a stitch or suture.
An abscess caused by streptococci.
An abscess beneath an aponeurosis or fascia.
An abscess of the midlayer of the covering of the brain and spinal cord.
An abscess underneath the areola of the mammary gland, sometimes draining through the nipple.
An abscess beneath the diaphragm, e.g., an hepatic, splenic, or interperitoneal abscess. Synonym: subphrenic abscess
An abscess beneath the dura of the brain or spinal cord.
An abscess beneath the fascia.
An abscess beneath the galea aponeuroticai (the epicranial aponeurosis).
An abscess beneath the pectoral muscles.
A bone abscess below the periosteum.
An abscess between the parietal peritoneum and the abdominal wall.
subphrenic abscessSubdiaphragmatic abscess.
An abscess between the serratus anterior and the posterior thoracic wall.
An abscess beneath the fingernail. It may follow injury from a pin, needle, or splinter.
An abscess of a sweat gland.
An abscess in the suspensory ligament between the liver and the diaphragm.
An abscess occurring in the tertiary stage of syphilis, esp. in bone.
A spinal epidural abscess.
An abscess of the thymus.
Acute suppurative tonsillitis.
tooth abscessAlveolar abscess.
An amebic abscess of the liver.
tuberculous abscessChronic abscess.
An abscess involving both the fallopian tube and the ovary. It is typically transmitted sexually.
tympanitic abscessEmphysematous abscess.
An abscess arising in the tympanum and extending to the neck.
An abscess of both the tympanum and the mastoid.
An abscess in the urethra.
An abscess caused by escape of urine into the tissues.
An abscess that contains pus and urine.
verminous abscessWorm abscess.
wandering abscessMetastatic abscess.
warm abscessAcute abscess.
An abscess caused by or containing insect larvae, worms, or other animal parasites. Synonym: helminthic abscess; verminous abscessillustration
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners