Avoid wound cultures in emergency department patients with uncomplicated skin and soft tissue abscesses after successful incision and drainage and with adequate medical follow-up.
October 14, 2013; updated June 18, 2018
Skin and soft tissue infections are a frequent reason for visiting an emergency department. Some infections, called abscesses, become walled off and form pus under the skin. Opening and draining an abscess is the appropriate treatment. Culture of the drainage is not needed as the result will not routinely change treatment.
How The List Was Created
Baumann BM, Russo CJ, Pavlik D, Cassidy-Smith T, Brown N, Sacchetti A, Capano-Wehrle LM, Mistry RD. Management of pediatric skin abscesses in pediatric, general academic and community emergency departments. West J Emerg Med. 2011May;12(2):159–67.
Duong M, Markwell S, Peter J, Barenkamp S. Randomized, controlled trial of antibiotics in the management of community-acquired skin abscesses in the pediatric patient. Ann Emerg Med. 2010 May;55(5):401–7.
Llera JL, Levy RC. Treatment of cutaneous abscess: a double-blind clinical study. Ann Emerg Med. 1985;14:15–9.
Niska R, Bhuiya F, Xu J. National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2007 Emergency Department Summary. National health statistics reports. Hyattsville, [MD]: National Center for Health Statistics. 2010. 31 p. Report no.: 26.
Talan et al. Trimethoprim–Sulfamethoxazole versus Placebo for Uncomplicated Skin Abscess. N Engl J Med 2016; 374:823-832.
DDaum et al. A Placebo – Controlled Trial of Antibiotics for Smaller Skin Abscesses. N Engl J Med 2017; 376(26): 2545-2555.