Abscess – intra-abdominal
Definition of Intra-abdominal abscess
An intra-abdominal abscess is a pocket of infected fluid and pus located inside the belly (abdominal cavity). There may be more than one abscess.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
An intra-abdominal abscess can be caused by a ruptured appendix, ruptured intestinal , inflammatory bowel disease, parasite infection in the intestines (), or other condition.
Depending on the location, symptoms may include:
Signs and tests
A may show a higher than normal white blood count. A comprehensive metabolic panel may show liver, kidney, or blood chemistry problems.
Treatment of an intra-abdominal abscess requires antibiotics (given by an IV) and drainage. Drainage involves placing a needle through the skin in the abscess, usually under x-ray guidance. The drain is then left in place for days or weeks until the abscess goes away.
The outlook depends on the original cause of the abscess and how bad the infection is. Generally, drainage is successful in treating intra-abdominal abscesses that have not spread.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 7/7/2010