Cutaneous abscess

Case contributed by Dr Hamish Smith


Painful, red swollen mass in the patient's left side of the neck. Present for 2 weeks.

Patient Data

Age: 40 years
Gender: Female

Cutaneous abscess

A mass of slightly higher density than the surrounding soft tissue above the left clavicle. The clavicle appears normal, there are no signs of osteomyelitis. A metallic density object is seen near the sternal border.

Case Discussion

This patient presented to the emergency room with a 2-week history of a cutaneous abscess in the left posterior triangle of the neck with surrounding cellulitis. The patient was haemodynamically stable and systemically well. On examination, there was a warm, tender, fluctuant mass measuring 5 cm x 4 cm with a 4 cm rim of surrounding cellulitis.

An x-ray was performed to rule out any involvement of the underlying clavicle. The abscess was incised and drained in the emergency department and the patient was commenced on intravenous antibiotics. Swabs collected cultured methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The most common causative organism of cutaneous abscesses is Staphylococcus aureus 1

PlayAdd to Share

Case information

rID: 59693
Published: 20th Apr 2018
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
System: Head & Neck
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included
Institution: Townsville hospital

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.