Boil or infected cyst Surgery



The above photos represent before and after images after boil treatment at OC MedDerm.

Why should you choose us for your skin surgery?

  • We offer same day appointments for emergency surgeries to make sure patients get prompt care for urgent needs and avoid ER visits. Boil and abscess infections can spread rapidly and cause serious systemic health issues and need immediate attention.
  • Skin surgeries are one of our signature services and are performed on a daily basis.
  • We offer the highest quality surgery with sterile conditions and complete pain control.
  • We are contracted with all PPO insurances as well as Medicare.
  • We are a private office with easily accessible familiar staff and do not use an automated answering service.
  • You are able to communicate with our physicians directly after hours if needed and are always available for follow-up appointments.

What you must know prior to surgery

  • Typically an abscess is much larger than it appears on the surface of the skin. Our physicians are experts in creating minimal incision sites on the skin in abscess treatments.
  • Scarring is expected in any surgical skin procedure, however, our physicians are trained in optimal incision site placement and provide post surgical wound care instructions to minimize scarring.
  • Keloid scar formation is a rare, but possible, type of scar that typically occurs on the torso, ears, and jawline. We recommend close follow-up after procedures to monitor for keloid development and early intervention.
  • Recurrent abscesses are relatively common, however, with proper patient education, surgical technique and correct use of antibiotics the frequency and intensity of the recurrent boil are minimized within our patients.
  • Procedures are commonly performed with local anesthesia which should not prevent you from driving home. However, if you are under narcotic pain medications for certain procedures we encourage that you have ride accommodations following your procedures.
  • If you have any artificial devices in your body such as joint replacements, heart valves, various shunts etc., we kindly ask you to inform us during your consultation in case you need to be started on prophylactic antibiotics.

How we perform Boil or Abscess Surgery

Education and Consent

Before beginning the procedure, we thoroughly explain the nature of the procedure and review the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the procedure. We hold high value in educating our patients and going over any questions in detail. There are many factors to consider for surgical treatment of an abscess, therefore, choice of specific procedure will vary from case to case.

We perform pain-free surgery

After consent is obtained and all your questions are answered, we clean the area of the procedure and drape it in a sterile fashion. The affected area will be numbed with local anesthesia or a regional nerve block. After 5-10 minutes, the area is tested and if pain is still felt additional localized anesthetic can be injected into the area. Only the initial injection will cause minor discomfort while the remainder of the procedure should be completely painless. We highly value our patients’ comfort, therefore, we ensure that the area is properly numbed before proceeding with the procedure.

Draining the boil or infected cyst

To drain an abscess, a small incision is made; followed by careful drainage of its content and deep cleaning.

Probing and Irrigation of the cavity

Occasionally, we need to irrigate the cavity of the abscess to ensure complete removal of pus and cavity materials.

Boils can have multiple cavities

Another critical and delicate part of the procedure is to break the walls between multiple pockets of abscess and clean the interconnected cavities. The good news is that the entire procedure is going to be performed in one sitting and is pain-free.

Packing of the abscess with drainage

If the boil/abscess cavity is very large (>5cm) or heavily infected, the drained cavity will be packed with medical-grade packing material. By packing the cavity, pus and blood are absorbed to help speed up the healing process. Packing also allows the cavity to remain open to the outside and not to close up, which prevents accumulation of pus that would otherwise lead to reinfection. The calculated amount of packing placed within the cavity allows for the wound to heal properly from the inside out. The exact length of the strip placed in the cavity depends on the size of the pocket and depth of the infection. For lightly infected and medium sized hollow cavities, we place a short strip that can be removed by the patient within the following few days as instructed. If the cavity is large or multiple sacs are present, the wound may need to be packed with a long strip and replaced daily with a shorter strip as the cavity heals from within. By doing so, all the infections from the accumulating pus can be drained and cleaned out with each change.

When we leave the wound open

Small and clean cavities after drainage do not need packing. Most of the time we prefer to leave the site of incision and drainage open in order to let the infection drain out. In this case, the site of the procedure will be covered with a thick gauze to absorb any post-procedure drainage.

When we close the wound

If the size of the boil or abscess is small, lightly infected, or completely and deeply cleaned during surgery, the incision can be closed with sutures. Sutures will shorten the healing time with less scarring compared with a wound left open. If the boil or lump is an infected epidermal cyst, then we are able to remove the entire sac which will help avoid risk of recurrence. In most cases when a removed cyst looks completely clean, we prefer to close the wound with sutures in order to shorten the healing phase.

Is a wound culture needed?

A wound culture is usually not needed for patients with first-time boil but it is recommended for the following instances:

  • Recurrent abscess
  • Elderly patients
  • Antibiotic resistant abscesses
  • Presence of other associated symptoms

Post-surgery wound care

To learn more about boil and abscess as well as the need for antibiotics click here

To learn more about how to take care of your wound click here

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