Display Mode:

    Main content

    Health Information

    Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Draining an Abscess

    Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: Draining an Abscess

    Skip to the navigation

    Topic Overview

    A pelvic abscess may be drained by needle aspiration. A needle is inserted through the abdominal or vaginal wall into the abscess. The fluid filling the abscess is drawn out (aspirated) with a syringe connected to the needle. A pelvic ultrasound or a computed tomography (CT) scan is used to guide the needle into the abscess. A tube (catheter) may be left in for a few days to allow the abscess to drain completely.

    Aspiration of an abscess may be done with a local or general anesthesia . You may go home the same day, unless more treatment is needed or you are very ill.

    Aspiration may be considered when the abscess:

    • Has failed to shrink or continues to enlarge after 48 to 72 hours of antibiotic therapy.
    • Is in the area between the vagina and rectum (cul-de-sac).

    If your health professional recommends aspiration, ask about abscess recurrence rates and other risks of the procedure.


    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
    Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Current as ofOctober 13, 2016

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

    © 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.