A pelvic abscess is a collection of pus in the pelvis or lower abdomen caused by infection, appendicitis, a burst ulcer, or complications after surgery. An abscess usually appears 2-3 weeks after the initial infection or complication and can become multiple abscesses if left untreated. Sometimes healthcare providers do not recommend treatment until it has ‘ripened’ enough to be easily opened and drained.
Pelvic Abscess: The Operation
A 3-inch incision is made in the stomach close to the pelvic abscess. The cut is deepened until the surgeon reaches the abscess. The pus is drained, the area is washed out with antibiotics, and a rubber drainage tube is placed to drain any additional pus. The tube remains in place until x-rays confirm that the abscess space is becoming smaller. It is shortened bit by bit and the wound dries and heals within 5-6 days.
Pelvic Abscess: Alternatives
Do not ignore a pelvic abscess as it may drain through your skin. It can also drain into organs, such as the bowels, and spread inside the stomach. If the liquid pus in the abscess is not very thick, the healthcare provider may place a drainage tube inside without surgery. A small area on top of the abscess is numbed with local anesthesia, and a tube is directed inside, using imaging technology as a guide.
Pelvic Abscess: Post-surgery
Most patients are able to walk within 24 hours after pelvic abscess surgery, however, they often experience some discomfort for several days. Sometimes the drainage tube needs to stay in place for 2 weeks. Patients can usually bathe normally, so long as the tube and incision area are kept dry. Driving is often possible within 3-4 weeks, assuming no discomfort or pain occurs. Sexual activities can usually be resumed after 3 weeks.
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