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Treatment / Percutaneous Abscess Drain

Percutaneous abscess drainage is generally used to remove infected fluid from the body, most commonly in the abdomen and pelvis. The abscess may be a result of recent surgery or secondary to an infection.

Am I a Candidate for Percutaneous Abscess Drainage?

When you come in to be treated for an abscess, your doctor will talk with you about your medical history and may perform diagnostic testing, which could include a CT scan or an ultrasound. Once it is determined that you are a good candidate, the next step is to schedule treatment.

In general, people who have an abscess will experience the following in the approximate location of the area involved:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Pain

What to Expect from the Procedure

When you come in for your procedure, you will either have local anesthesia with sedation, or general anesthesia – whatever you and your Interventional Radiologist (IR) have discussed. Your IR will make a small incision at the site and using image-guidance; will place a thin plastic tube called a catheter through the skin and into the abscess to allow for drainage of the infected fluid. Once in place, the catheter is connected to a drainage bag outside of your body. The catheter will remain in place until the fluid has stopped draining and your infection is gone. It may take several days to fully drain.


An abscess drain is usually performed as an outpatient procedure and typically takes 20 minutes to an hour to complete. Afterwards, you will rest in a recovery area for a while before you are sent home. Patients can usually resume normal activity within a few days, as tolerated.

If you are feeling much better and the daily drain output is less than 10 cc for 3 consecutive days, call us or your doctor for a plan in anticipation of removal.

You should call your doctors office if you experience any of the following:

  • Fever/chills not resolving or leakage at/around the site
  • Increased pain
  • Decreased or significant change in the output
  • New onset bloody drainage

Whether or not you are a candidate will depend on your diagnosis and a consultation with your interventional radiologist. Call IVC today at 503-612-0498 to schedule an appointment.

* This information about Percutaneous Abscess Drain was reviewed by Dr. Jason R. Bauer. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below.

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We are announcing that Interventional and Vascular Consultants will be closing as of March 10, 2023.

We would like to thank you for the trust you have given us over the years, participating in your healthcare needs has been a privilege.

To assist in a smooth transition to a new provider, you may access your records from your MyHealth account or request a copy of medical records by clicking the link below and completing the Release of Information form.

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Please know that we have greatly valued our relationship with you and wish you the best.


Jason Bauer, MD RVT
Michael Pfister, MD RVT

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