Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Allied Health Sciences, Physician Assistant Program
Introduction: A skin abscess is an accumulation of pus beneath the skin and is among one of the most
common skin and soft tissue infections. Skin abscesses can occur in anyone including healthy
patients with no comorbidities. They can occur anywhere on the body, but are common in
friction-prone areas such as the buttocks, breast and groin. Patients present with tender
nodules with fluctuance, induration, and erythema. Definitive management for abscesses is
incision and drainage, with or without the placement of packing material.
The purpose of this article is to review the necessity of wound packing in the healing
outcomes and recurrence of infection after incision and drainage compared to no packing in
patients with a skin abscess. Evaluation of this topic has the potential to improve patient care
while reducing overall health care costs.
First, we will discuss the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management
options for skin abscess. Then, we will review the most recent literature to answer the
aforementioned question at hand.