Read this information so you understand the procedure and its risks. Please ask questions about anything you do not understand.
An abscess is a collection of infected fluid (pus). To drain an abscess, a doctor may use a needle and syringe to suction the fluid or may place a drainage catheter.
The physician will use ultrasound or CT scan to locate the abscess and decide where to insert the needle. After the doctor numbs the skin, he or she will insert a needle into the abscess and draw out the fluid. The fluid will be sent to a laboratory to find out what caused the infection.
Depending on the location and size of the abscess and the type of fluid obtained in the collection, the doctor may place a small catheter to allow the area to continue to drain for several days.
If the collection of fluid (abscess) is deep in the pelvis, sometimes the best route for the doctor to place a drainage catheter is through the child’s rectum. This is called trans-rectal abscess drainage.
Maybe. Depending on your child’s medical history and the location of the abscess, we will use intravenous sedation or general anesthesia so that your child isn't awake; or we will use only local numbing medicine.
The procedure is considered low-risk. However, potential complications include:
Some children may experience pain or discomfort in the area of the abscess. You may give your child over-the-counter pain medication.
Inpatients will spend several hours in the recovery area before they return to their hospital rooms. Outpatients will also spend several hours in recovery; they will return to the hospital in several days to have the catheter removed.
The catheter will be in place for as long as it takes most of the fluid to drain; usually this is several days. The catheter is usually removed at the child’s bedside (for inpatients) or in Interventional Radiology (for outpatients). This is quick and easy: the stitch is cut, the catheter removed and a small bandage placed over the site.
If your child doesn’t have a drainage catheter, the bandage must stay dry and in place for 24 hours. Then you may remove the clear bandage and gauze and your child may shower or bathe as usual.
If your child has a drainage catheter, the bandage will remain in place as long as the catheter is in place. In addition, the catheter will be secured with a locking device (StatLock®) which must not be removed. Please sponge-bathe around the bandage. Your child may resume showers or baths 24 hours after the catheter is removed.