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Abscesses

Abscesses and cysts are fluid-filled lumps that can form anywhere on the body. To the untrained eye, they can be hard to tell apart. Both abscesses and cysts can be uncomfortable and may require medical treatment.

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What is an abscess?

An abscess is a tender, infected area filled with pus. Abscesses form when your immune system fights an infection in one of your bodily tissues.

Like cysts, abscesses can occur on your skin or inside your body. However, because abscesses involve infection, they are warm, painful, irritated and often red and swollen. The surrounding area is usually colored from pink to deep red, and the infection can also cause symptoms in other parts of the body. An abscess can form on its own or can occur when a cyst becomes infected.

What is a cyst?

Cysts are sacs or cavities filled with fluid or pus. They can appear on your skin or anywhere inside your body. Some common types are the baker’s cyst (behind the knee), sebaceous cyst (under the skin) and ganglion cyst (along the tendons or joints of your wrists, hands or feet).

The cells that make up a cyst’s sac are different from those around them, but they usually aren’t cancerous. Cysts grow slowly and are not typically painful. A cyst is not considered a medical problem unless it bothers you or becomes sore or infected.

How to Treat an Abscess or Cyst at Home

One of the best things you can do to treat an abscess or cyst at home is to hold a warm, moist cloth on the area for 20 minutes at a time, a few times daily. This may soothe the area, stimulate infection-fighting antibodies and white blood cells and help the area heal.

It’s not advisable to try draining an abscess or cyst yourself. Cyst popping at home can cause infection. Instead, keep the area clean, and make an appointment with a doctor if the area is painful or starts to drain.

How will a WellNow medical provider treat my abscess or cyst?

At WellNow Urgent Care, abscesses and cysts are drained and removed using one of the following two procedures:

In a fine needle aspiration procedure, a thin needle is inserted into the cyst, after the area has been numbed. Your medical provider will drain the cyst’s fluids through the needle. Patients typically experience no discomfort to minimal discomfort during the procedure.

With an incision and drainage procedure, your medical provider will start by numbing the area with a local anesthetic. They will make a small incision into the abscess using a scalpel or needle. The pus will then be drained from the abscess, and some of the discharge may be collected for testing. Once the abscess has been drained, the medical provider will clean the wound and rinse it with a saline solution.

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When should you visit us for abscess or cyst treatment?

If you’re feeling uncomfortable or concerned about an abscess or cyst, WellNow Urgent Care is here for you. Check in online or walk in to a WellNow location nearest you.

This medical information has been reviewed for accuracy by Dr. Robert Birenbaum, Chief Medical Officer for WellNow Urgent Care.


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Injuries We Treat

WellNow Urgent Care can help when you or a family member is hurt. Our dedicated medical team will provide prompt, comprehensive and compassionate care to help you get better, faster.

This list contains are most frequently treated injuries. If you are experiencing pain from an injury not listed or are unsure of the source of your discomfort, visit a WellNow Urgent Care clinic near you or start a virtual care session.

A - E

Abrasions
Abscesses and Cysts
Back Pain
Bruises
Burns
Cuts and Lacerations
Dog Bites
Eye Complaints

F - Z

Foreign Body Removal
Insect Bites and Stings
Minor Head Injuries
Nosebleeds
Sprained Ankle
Strains
AND MORE