What is an Abscess?
An abscess is a pocket of infected fluid and pus collected inside the tissue or an organ.
What is an Abdominal Abscess?
An Abdominal Abscess is a pocket of infected fluid and pus collected inside the belly (abdominal cavity). It can be located inside or around the liver, pancreas, kidneys or other abdominal organs. It can be single or multiple.
What are the causes of Abdominal Abscess?
It can be due to:
- Ruptured appendix
- Infection in the Pelvis
- Infection in your gallbladder, pancreas, ovary or other abdominal organs
- Perforation in the intestine
- Ruptured Ovary
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Parasitic infection
Risk of Abdominal Abscess is increased due to:
- Any Trauma
- Abdominal Surgery
- Weak immune system
- Sepsis (infection in the blood)
What are the symptoms of Abdominal Abscess?
Persistent pain in the belly is usually the most common symptom. It may be sharp or dull, present in one region or all over the belly. It may become worse over time. Pain can be present in your back, chest or even shoulder. It depends on the location of the abscess.
Other symptoms may include:
- Fever with or without chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bloated Belly
- Loss of appetite associated with weakness and weight loss
Which tests are done for Abdominal Abscess?
Your doctor will ask you to get some tests done. These may include:
- CBC – Increase in CBC count is a possible sign of infection.
- LFT’s, KFT’s and other blood metabolic panels.
- Abdominal x-ray
- Ultrasound of the abdomen and pelvis
- CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis
- MRI of the abdomen and pelvis
What treatment options are available?
Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for 4-6 weeks with or without drainage of pus. It depends on the clinical judgement and current status of the patient. Antibiotics can be given orally or through IV cannula. It depends on the extent of the infection.
Drainage of the pus is done through a needle and a drain. Your doctor will insert a needle through the skin into the abscess under ultrasound or X-ray guidance. The sample will be taken and sent to the lab. This is done to select better antibiotic therapy. The drain is left in the abscess to drain out the pus. It may be kept in for days or weeks until the abscess gets better. The drain is left in the abscess for the drainage of the pus.
Your doctor will recommend surgery if the abscess is located deeply into the abdomen and not reachable. Other indications of surgery include rupture of appendix, intestine or any other organ. Surgery is done either by Laparotomy or Laparoscopy.
In Laparoscopy, a very small cut is made in the belly and a laparoscope (a tiny video camera) is used to explore the abdomen and abscess. A larger cut is made in the belly in Laparotomy. The surgeon will clean and drain the abscess and keep the drain in the abdomen until the abscess gets better.
What is the Prognosis?
It depends on your immunity level and extent of an abscess. In most cases, antibiotics and drain will take care of an abscess. But in some cases, the abscess may come back. You may also need multiple surgeries.
What are the possible complications?
Infection can spread from abscess to blood or other organs. An abscess can come back again and you may need multiple surgeries. It can lead to surgical complications (both during surgery and post-surgery) like trauma to other organs or infection at the site of surgery.