Percutaneous Abscess Drainage

Using imaging guidance, fluid collections can be aspirated or drained for diagnostic and/or therapeutic purposes. VIVA’s drainage services include Abscess Drainage, Nephrostomy Tube Placement, Paracentesis, and Thoracentesis.


What is Abscess Drainage?

Abscess drainage is a quick, minimally invasive procedure to remove fluid from an abscess. Percutaneous abscess drainage specifically uses image-guided technology for the placement of a needle and catheter. This procedure is done without a surgical incision, no stitches, and a faster recovery time than open surgical drainage.

Am I a candidate for Abscess Drainage?

If you suffer from an abscess in your abdomen, pelvis, or chest, you may be a candidate for abscess drainage. Abscesses may also form in and around abdominal organs such as the kidneys, liver, spleen, pancreas, or in the prostate gland. If left untreated, an abscess can become very serious and even fatal. Growth may cause damage to blood vessels and nearby organs. If the bacteria from the fluid enters the bloodstream and spreads, sepsis may occur. Talk to your doctor to see if abscess drainage is right for you.

Causes of an Abscess

An abscess, or the buildup of infected fluid, can be caused by a variety of medical conditions. The most common causes are a result of a ruptured appendix or intestine, inflammatory bowel disease, gynecological infections, or diverticulitis. The specific symptoms of an abscess depend on location.

Symptoms Include:




Persistent Pain and Discomfort

Loss of Appetite

Diagnostic and Therapeutic

There are two reasons to remove fluid from an abscess: first to analyze, and second to drain the abscess. A thin needle is injected directly into the abscess, and a sampling of the infected fluid is removed for lab testing. A small drainage catheter is then placed to drain the abscess fluid.

What can I expect during my abscess drainage procedure?

During your abscess drainage, you’ll be in good hands with our Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Interventional Radiologists. Before your procedure, a CT scan or ultrasound may be prescribed to analyze the specific location and depth of the abscess. Most procedures are conducted in the office and do not require sedation or an operating room. After the area is cleaned, a local anesthetic will be administered. Through the use of image-guided technology, your interventional radiologist will place a catheter to drain the infected fluid. Sterile saline may be injected into the site to flush the abscess. The procedure will last about 30 minutes, depending on the size and complexity of the abscess and how much fluid is drained.

What can I expect after the procedure?

After your abscess drainage procedure, your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. You will leave your appointment on the same day with a small bandage on the puncture site. Depending on the size of the abscess, some patients may require drainage through a catheter over the course of several days to weeks. It’s important to keep the area dry and covered to prevent infection. Antibiotics may be prescribed as a precaution against infection. The course of antibiotic treatment is very effective in most patients as it targets the specific strain of bacteria identified in the lab analysis.

To schedule your percutaneous abscess drainage procedure at VIVA, call our office at (540) 654-9118.

Our high level of expertise offers greater assurances than most vein centers can provide. Our physicians will evaluate your specific needs and select the appropriate therapy.

Schedule an Appointment