Abscess – intra-abdominal
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
An intra-abdominal abscess can be caused by a ruptured appendix, ruptured intestinal
Risk factors include a history of appendicitis, diverticulitis, perforated ulcer disease, or any surgery that may have infected the abdominal cavity.
Depending on the location, symptoms may include:
Abdominal pain and distention
Lack of appetite
Rectal tenderness and fullness
Signs and tests
Other tests may include:
- Abdominal x-ray
- Ultrasound of the abdomen
Sometimes surgery called a
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.
Occasionally, abscesses cannot be safely drained this way. In such cases, surgery must be done while the patient is under general anesthesia (unconscious and pain-free). A cut is made in the belly area (abdomen), and the abscess is drained and cleaned. A drain is left in the abscess cavity, and remains in place until the infection goes away.
It is always important to identify and treat the cause of the abscess.
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.
Return of the abscess
Rupture of an abscess
Spread of the infection to the bloodstream
Widespread infection in the abdomen
Calling your health care provider
Call your doctor if you have severe abdominal pain, fevers, nausea, vomiting, or changes in bowel habits.