Abscess

Last updated: Friday, 16, July, 2010
Key InformationAppropriate Tests

Ensure that the site of the abscess and any antibiotic therapy are stated on the request form.

Pus, obtained by aspiration, surgical drainage or spontaneous rupture for microscopy and culture. Fungal and/or mycobacterial culture need to be specifically requested if clinically indicated.

Biopsy of abscess wall may assist in the diagnosis of fungal or mycobacterial infection (eg, skin abscess).

If appropriate: amoeba antibodies (eg, liver, cerebral abscess), cryptococcal antigen (eg, cerebral abscess), genital (cervical) swab in patients with a Bartholin’s abscess.

FBC, blood film; CRP occasionally indicated for monitoring response to therapy.

Recurrent, chronic or multiple abscesses

See Infection (increased susceptibility).