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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
The patients admitted to Basaveshwara Teaching and General Hospital Kalaburgi attached to Mahadevappa Rampure Medical College with primary diagnosis of breast abscess less than 5 cms will be taken for this prospective study from January 2016 to June 2017.
The failure of clinical relief with respect to fever, pain, tenderness, and leukocytosis or reduction in dimensions of the abscess cavity following a third attempt of aspiration was considered as unsuccessful needle aspiration.
Isolated splenic abscess is rare in children, and is more commonly seen in the immunosuppressed and in children with concurrent systemic diseases.
A very limited number of cases of Luc's abscess have been reported in the literature, particularly following the widespread use of antibiotics.
He developed necrotic skin changes on a fluctuant and indurated area in the left anterior abdominal wall, suggesting an abscess formation, and the patient was referred to our clinic (Figure 1) Contrast-enhanced abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a gross mass with fluid inside in the lower left quadrant.
Especially after the treatment of corpus cavernosum abscess, complications such as ED, penile deviation, and penile curvature could develop due to fibrosis and recurrence.
Liver abscess can broadly be classified into amoebic liver abscess (ALA) and PLA.
Due to the large size of the abscess, the decision against surgical intervention, sepsis, and overall clinical presentation, the decision was made to request drain placement by interventional radiology.
Only the inner anechoic-hypoechoic structure was measured while determining the size of abscess (Fig.
Splenic abscess is an extremely uncommon condition with an incidence of 0.14-0.7% as per autopsy studies from western countries.
Left untreated, mastitis may cause tissue destruction resulting in an abscess. Lactational abscesses tend to be located in the peripheral breast and are often a progression of mastitis or lactational breast inflammation (6).