Symptoms and causes

An abscess is a previously non-existing cavity that is filled with pus. In the skin, an abscess often starts from a burst hair follicle. Bacteria are often present in the abscess cavity. The bacterial infection causes tissue damage, redness, swelling, pain, tissue death and malodorous pus.

Usually, skin abscesses start from an inflamed hair follicle cyst (a pre-existing swelling of the skin filled with sebum), but they can also occur through direct bacterial infection of the skin. Removal of the pus is recommended. This may be performed during the visit.

Hidradenitis suppurativa is a skin condition that also involves abscesses that may lead to the formation of tunnels (fistulae) or permanent cavities (sinuses).

Treatment centres and specialisations

Dermatology

Latest publication date: 21/01/2021
Supervising author: Dr Van Autryve Els