Specimens from 135 cutaneous abscesses in outpatients were cultured anaerobically and aerobically. Of these, 4% were sterile and 29% yielded pure cultures, predominantly of Staphylococcus aureus. Aerobic species were isolated from all anatomic areas. Anaerobes were found with a frequency comparable to aerobes in all nonperineal areas except the hand. In contrast, abscesses in the perineal region contained a greater variety and frequency of anaerobes. Only two patients were febrile. All abscesses were treated with incision and drainage, and all healed without complication, including those 74% that were treated without adjunctive antibiotics. Primary management of cutaneous abscesses should be incision and drainage. In general, routine culture and antibiotic therapy are not indicated for localized abscesses in patients with presumably normal host defenses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine