Benefits vs. Risks of Percutaneous Abscess Drainage

Percutaneous Abscess Drainage Benefits

  • No surgical incision is needed—only a small nick in the skin that does not have to be stitched closed.
  • The procedure is minimally invasive and the recovery period is usually faster than after open surgical drainage.

Percutaneous Abscess Drainage Risks

  • Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. The chance of infection requiring antibiotic treatment appears to be less than one in 1,000.
  • There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction if contrast material is injected.
  • Very rarely, an adjacent organ may be damaged by percutaneous abscess drainage.
  • Occasionally bleeding may occur. This can typically be treated by minimally invasive techniques, if necessary.
  • The catheter placed at the time of percutaneous abscess drainage may become blocked or displaced requiring manipulation or changing of the catheter. In addition, a very large or complex fluid collection may require more than one abscess drain.