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abscess, 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 sty), 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 fistula, and abscess of the appendix in appendicitis. Unless an abscess discharges spontaneously, surgical incision and drainage is required. See boil; carbuncle.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A localized collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a localized collection of pus formed as the product of inflammation and usually caused by bacteria
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Hassan Tuberculous submassetric abcess: Case report British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 2009;47:566-568.
Ultrasonography revealed a right sided lumbar collection suggestive of paraspinal abcess. and the computed tomography (CT) established the diagnosis of a loculated fluid-density mass, measuring 10 cm of length, beginning on the right iliac fossa, involving the psoas muscle and extending inferiorly through the gluteal region.
Intraperitoneal air may also be caused by gas produced by bacteria in the appendicular abcess, (3,4) responsible, in our opinion, for the presence of gas within appendicular abscesses rather than in the free peritoneum.
Having said that, he hadn't the ideal preparation, suffering an abcess on his foot, so he deserves a bit more praise than the bare result of his head victory.
Some people crabbed the form of that race, but Alamshar had missed training with an abcess on his foot and was not at his peak.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) Opportunistic infections Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (subacute sponfiform encephalopathy) Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy Post-encephalitic dementia Bechet's syndrome Herpes encephalitis Fungal meningitis or encephalitis Parasitic encephalitis Brain abcess Neurosyphilis (general paresis) Normal pressure hydrocephalus (communicating hydrocephalus of adults)
The tooth fairy's good fortune failed to rub off on the Liverpool full-back after an abcess op earlier this week.
Elsewhere, William (Mathew Baynton) thinks public hangings are wrong, and - word of warning - there's a ghastly moment involving an abcess on a buttock.
The patient had pain for nearly six years after the diagnosis, till his molar decayed tooth had an abcess and was extracted in 2005.
Declan takes her to hospital, where a scan reveals an abcess on her ovary which requires an emergency operation.
If a fluid collection is identified adjacent to the ureter on the CT, delayed images should be performed.[sup.3] Extravasation of the contrast is diagnostic for ureteral injury and lack of extravasation suggests abcess or hematoma.[sup.3] Intravenous urogram has been suggested as an option;[sup.1,7] however, the range of false negatives is 44% to 73%, which is higher than the previously mentioned options.[sup.3] Ureteral injuries are classified by the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST) and can be used to guide management (Table 1).[sup.8]