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September 16, 1911


Author Affiliations

Assistant Surgeon, Out-Patients, University Hospital; Physician to Dispensary for Women, German Hospital. PHILADELPHIA

JAMA. 1911;LVII(12):968-970. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260090190008

While the treatment of furuncles seemingly may be summed up in two words—incision and drainage—yet I apprehend that a thorough, complete and permanent cure involves a broad survey of many principles, based on a brief consideration of their cause and pathology.

A furuncle, as described by Da Costa, is "an acute and circumscribed inflammation of the deep layer of true skin and the subcutaneous tissue following bacterial infection of a hair-follicle or a sebaceous gland." The exciting cause is usually Staphylococcus aureus. Burrowing down into the hair-follicle and invading the adjacent sebaceous gland, the bacteria excite the surrounding subcutaneous tissue to inflammatory defensive reaction. The blood-vessels dilate and become engorged, resulting in active hyperemia. Leukocytes transmigrate and serum exudes into the zone of defense resulting in a little tumor which is hard, painful and tender. In the center of this little tumor, corresponding to the position of the hair-follicle, is