General surgeons are often called upon to drain abscesses. These can occur throughout the body. An abscess is a purulent cavity or pus pocket. These can from a small perforation in the skin for something as simple a scratch that then becomes infected with bacteria normally living on the skin. Patients may present with pain, fever, or purulent drainage. Perirectal abscesses deserve special consideration as they can require unique drainage.
Occasionally, a perirectal abscess can be palpated during a rectal exam. However, patients can be exquisitely tender and surgeons may not be able to determine the location of the abscess. A CT scan can help elucidate the location of the abscess or if more than one abscess is present. Antibiotics may help prevent the abscess from spreading but usually will not adequately treat the abscess because the antibiotics are unable to penetrate the abscess. Surgery will drain the abscess cavity and allow the antibiotics to work more effectively. The location of the abscess will determine how the abscess needs to be drained. Abscesses close to the skin can be drained directly. Some deep abscesses need to be drained from the inside of the anus. Other intersphincteric abscesses may be best drained with needle. The abscess liquid can be cultured to determine the type of bacteria present and tailor antibiotics appropriately. Depending on how the abscess is drained, a patient may require packing the area. Most perirectal abscesses after drainage will require a sitz bath to help the healing process. A sitz bath involves a patient soaking their buttocks in warm water for approximately 10 minutes several times a day. Some patients find this is more comfortable with Epson salt added to the water. Patients usually have a short recovery and can almost immediately return to work.
Abscesses can develop in a variety of locations and it is important that patients find a surgeon with experience. Drainage of perirectal abscesses merits the attention of a board-certified general surgeon. Dr. Jenna Kazil is a double board-certified general and vascular surgeon who operates on abscesses at various hospitals and surgery centers on the West coast of Florida.Dr. Kazil is Bradenton, Manatee County based surgical specialist who works as a vascular and general surgeon with plenty of experience draining abscesses on patients living on Florida’s West coast from Sarasota to Tampa. Call today to schedule an appointment.