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Abscess (cont.)

Skin Abscess Diagnosis

The doctor will take a medical history and ask for information about the following:

  • How long the abscess has been present
  • If the patient recalls any injury to that area
  • What medicines the patient is taking and if there are any serious or chronic medical conditions
  • If the patient has any allergies
  • If the patient had a fever at home
  • The doctor will examine the abscess and surrounding areas. If it is near the anus or vagina, the doctor will perform a rectal or vaginal exam. If an arm or leg is involved, the doctor will feel for an enlarged lymph node either in the groin or under the arm.
  • Depending on the location and the extent of the abscess, the doctor may obtain wound cultures or blood tests and imaging studies, although these measures are often not needed.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/9/2014

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