February 1985

Expanded Criteria for Percutaneous Abscess Drainage

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Radiology (Drs Gerzof and Robbins) and Surgery (Drs Johnson and Nabseth), Boston Veterans Administration Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston.

Arch Surg. 1985;120(2):227-232. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1985.01390260085012

• The original criteria for percutaneous abscess drainage were limited to simple abscesses (well-defined, unilocular) with safe drainage routes. We expanded these entry criteria to include complex abscesses (loculated, ill-defined, or extensively dissecting abscesses), multiple abscesses, abscesses with enteric fistulas or whose drainage routes traversed normal organs, as well as complicated abscesses (appendiceal, splenic, interloop, and pelvic). Using these expanded criteria, cure was achieved nonoperatively in 92 (73.6%) of 125 abscesses with ten deaths (9%), and 11 complications (9%). Cure was achieved in 82% of simple abscesses, but only 45% of complex abscesses. There was no correlation between size, depth, drainage route, or etiology of the abscess (spontaneous v postoperative) with either cure or complications. We recommend a trial of percutaneous drainage in all simple abscesses and most complex abscesses with clinical response as the key determinant of the need for operative intervention.

(Arch Surg 1985;120:227-232)