Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Draining an Abscess

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Draining an Abscess

Topic Overview

A pelvic abscess may be drained by needle aspiration. A needle is inserted through the abdominal or vaginal wall into the abscess. The fluid filling the abscess is drawn out (aspirated) with a syringe connected to the needle. A pelvic ultrasound or a computed tomography (CT) scan is used to guide the needle into the abscess. A tube (catheter) may be left in for a few days to allow the abscess to drain completely.

Aspiration of an abscess may be done with a local or general anesthesia . You may go home the same day, unless more treatment is needed or you are very ill.

Aspiration may be considered when the abscess:

  • Has failed to shrink or continues to enlarge after 48 to 72 hours of antibiotic therapy.
  • Is in the area between the vagina and rectum (cul-de-sac).

If your health professional recommends aspiration, ask about abscess recurrence rates and other risks of the procedure.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Last RevisedNovember 23, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use . How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.