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localized inflamation associated with tissue necrosis. Abscesses are characterized by inflamation, which is due to the accumulation of pus in the local tissues, and often painful swelling. They occur in the skin, at the root of a tooth, in the middle ear, on the eyelid (see stysty,
in medicine, acute localized infection of one or more of the glands of the eyelid, with pain, swelling, and redness of the lid margin, usually caused by a staphylococcus infection. An external sty usually releases its pus and disappears in a day or so.
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), in the mammary glands, in the recto-anal area, and elsewhere in the body. Abscesses may develop in lung tissue, in the lymph nodes, and in bone. A sinus abscess may result in a fistulafistula
, abnormal, usually ulcerous channellike formation between two internal organs or between an internal organ and the skin. It may follow a surgical procedure with improper healing, or it may be caused by injury, abscess, or infection with penetration deep enough to reach
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, and abscess of the appendix in appendicitis. Unless an abscess discharges spontaneously, surgical incision and drainage is required. See boilboil
or furuncle
, tender, painful inflammatory nodule in the skin, which becomes pustular but with a hard center (see abscess). It may be caused by any of various microbes, the most usual being Staphylococcus aureus.
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; carbunclecarbuncle,
acute inflammatory nodule of the skin caused by bacterial invasion into the hair follicles or sebaceous gland ducts. It is actually a boil, but one that has more than one focus of infection, i.e., involves several follicles or ducts.
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a localized purulent inflammation of tissues, involving their dissolution and the formation of a pus-containing cavity.

Abscesses may develop in the subcutaneous cellular tissue, in muscles, bones, and so forth, as well as in organs (such as the liver, lungs, spleen, and brain) or between them (interintestinal abscesses, subphrenic abscesses, and so on). Abscesses may appear either independently or as a complication in other diseases—for instance, pneumonia, trauma, etc. They develop as a result of the penetration of pyogenic microbes into the organism through lesions of the skin or the mucous membranes or as a result of importation of pathogenic agents from other purulent foci through the blood and lymph vessels. The microbes that have entered the tissues cause inflammation and subsequent necrosis of a section of tissue or organ. The abscess is surrounded by a zone of inflammation. The organism’s defense reaction is manifested in the formation of a capsule separating the abscess from healthy tissue. The volume of pus in the cavity of an abscess may reach several liters.

The manifestations of abscesses depend on their location, depth, and stage of development. Abscesses located close to the skin or to a mucous membrane cause their reddening, an increase in local and overall temperature, swelling, and fluctuation—a sensation of impulse transmission through a liquid from one wall to the other. When an abscess is deep, the function of the organ in which it is embedded is disturbed, body temperature rises, and pain sets in. The number of leukocytes in the blood and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) increase. If the capsule becomes thin, the abscess will open up by itself through the skin or into the bronchial or intestinal lumen, etc. Serious complications develop when abscesses break open into the pleural or abdominal cavity. Abscesses are treated by surgery.


Rufanov, I. G. Obshchaia khirurgiia, 6th ed. Moscow, 1957. Page 311.
Davydovskii, I. V. Obshchaia patologiia cheloveka. Moscow, 1961.



A localized collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue.


a localized collection of pus formed as the product of inflammation and usually caused by bacteria
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Acute calcific longus colli tendonitis (ACLCT) is a disease process that mimics life threatening conditions, which include meningitis and retropharyngeal abscess.
4) Unlike retropharyngeal abscess, which is typically characterized by enhancing fluid in the retropharyngeal space and inflamed lymph nodes, CTLC generally demonstrates nonenhancing fluid in the retropharyngeal space accompanied by calcification anterior to C1 and C2.
Retropharyngeal abscess carries a high mortality and morbidity rate, due to its association with airway obstruction, aspiration pneumonia, mediastinitis, jugular venous thrombosis, necrotizing fasciitis, sepsis and erosion into the carotid artery (2).
Retropharyngeal abscess in children: the emerging role of group A beta hemolytic Streptococcus.
Croup, epiglottitis, retropharyngeal abscess, and bacterial tracheitis: Evolving patterns of occurrence and care.
Bacterial infection of the neck not involving the supraglottic airway may arise from lymphatic spread following tonsillitis or may be introduced by trauma or a foreign body and progress to a peritonsillar or retropharyngeal abscess.
Key Words: retropharyngeal abscess, group A streptococcus, pharyngitis
Based on clinical findings, calcific retropharyngeal tendinitis is often misdiagnosed as severe pharyngitis, a retropharyngeal abscess, infectious spondylitis, or a traumatic injury.
If treatment is delayed, suppurated lymph nodes may rupture and result in the formation of retropharyngeal abscess or retropharyngeal cellulitis.
Retropharyngeal abscess as a complication of Crohn's disease has not been reported in the literature.
These anomalies may be misidentified as a recurrent deep neck abscess that does not respond to appropriate medical or surgical therapy or as recurrent acute suppurative thyroiditis, respiratory distress, or retropharyngeal abscess.
Branchial-cleft sinus presenting with a retropharyngeal abscess for a newborn: A case report.