An abscess is a collection of pus and is usually caused by the body’s reaction to an infection. Abscesses can arise in the perianal area due to infection of the anal glands or the skin around the anus.
They present as a painful lump or swelling around the anus. If they burst, they can present with discharge of pus and blood.
If the abscess arises from the perianal glands, it may be associated with an underlying anal fistula. This can be a cause of recurrent abscess formation.
A perianal abscess requires incision and drainage under a general anaesthetic. At the same time, the surgeon looks for an underlying fistula which may need treatment at the same time.
After drainage of an abscess, the skin cannot be closed over the abscess cavity or else the abscess forms back. It is left open and heals from inside out. It may require daily packing with gauze or a so-called alginate dressing (Kaltostat) for days to weeks before closing completely.
The duration of packing depends on the size of the abscess cavity. You do not have to be in hospital all this time as packing is usually done either at home by Hospital In The Home or District Nursing services or at your local doctor’s clinic.