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an accumulation of pus in a limited region, without such local or general manifestations of an inflammatory reaction as pain, reddening of the skin, or fever, which are typical of an ordinary abscess.
Cold abscesses occur mainly during certain stages of actinomycosis or of tuberculosis of bones and joints. In tuberculosis of bones, and most commonly in spondylitis, a cold abscess tends to become diffused in adjacent tissues owing to the pressure of the pus, and to form a wandering abscess. For example, in tubercular spondylitis of the lumbar region of the spine, a cold abscess may extend to the iliac region or to the upper third of the thigh; it becomes discernible only when a subcutaneous tumor-like formation appears. If the abscess is not treated it may break through the soft tissues and skin, form fistulas that are slow to heal, and discharge a characteristic granular type of pus containing the abscess’s causative agents.
A cold abscess is treated at its original site. Surgical treatment involves puncturing or incising the region of the swelling in order to remove the purulent necrotic mass and to introduce chemotherapeutic agents.