Abscess Incision & Drainage in Hickory NC | AFC Urgent Care

If you’re experiencing a painful abscess or cyst, visit AFC Urgent Care for incision & drainage for the relief you need. We’re open 7 days a week – no appointment necessary.

If you’ve ever had a painful, swollen lump on your skin, you might have experienced an abscess or severe cyst. Neglecting these conditions can lead to discomfort and even danger. Fortunately, AFC Urgent Care provides an abscess incision and drainage service to promptly and efficiently treat your symptoms.

What’s the difference between an abscess and a cyst?

Abscesses and cysts are two types of lumps that may form beneath the skin, but they have distinct characteristics and are caused by different factors.

An abscess is a collection of pus that develops when a bacterial infection causes the body to produce white blood cells to fight the infection. The pus is a thick, yellowish fluid made up of dead white blood cells, bacteria, and other debris. Abscesses may be painful, swollen, and warm to the touch and can occur anywhere on the body.

On the other hand, a cyst is a sac or pocket that contains fluid, air, or other materials. They can be caused by various factors like blocked ducts, infections, or inherited conditions. Unlike abscesses, cysts are usually painless and may feel firm or spongy to the touch. Cysts can form anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the skin, in the ovaries, or in the kidneys.

Abscess Signs & Symptoms

An abscess forms when pus accumulates under the skin or in a body cavity due to an infection. Although the symptoms of an abscess can vary depending on its location, there are common signs that can help you identify it.

  • Pain: An abscess can be painful, and the discomfort can worsen as the abscess grows. You may experience a dull ache or a sharp, stabbing sensation.
  • Redness and swelling: The skin around the abscess may appear swollen and red, and the affected area may feel warm to the touch.
  • Pus or fluid: Abscesses contain pus, a thick, yellowish fluid that includes dead white blood cells, bacteria and other debris. If the abscess is near the skin’s surface, you may see pus draining from it.
  • Fever: In some cases, an abscess can cause a fever, indicating that your body is fighting an infection.
  • Difficulty moving: If the abscess is close to a joint, it may hinder movement in that area. It’s worth noting that not all abscesses cause symptoms, especially if they are small or deep within the body.

What causes a skin abscess?

An abscess develops when bacteria are trapped under the skin due to blockage of sweat or oil glands, or as a result of an injury or cut on the skin. People usually seek medical attention when the inflammation and infection become too uncomfortable. Those with diabetes, severe eczema or acne, those who smoke, those with close contact with someone with a staph infection, or those with a weakened immune system are at higher risk of developing an abscess.

Do I need Incision & Drainage?

Incision and drainage is a procedure that relieves pressure and pain by draining the fluid buildup in abscesses and cysts. The procedure aims to reduce the size of the abscess or cyst and prevent the spread of infection. If left untreated, the abscess may not heal completely on its own and antibiotics may not be enough to eliminate the bacteria inside the abscess cavity. Neglecting the procedure can lead to serious infections, such as sepsis, or require a debridement procedure to remove the abscess and surrounding dead tissue.

What to Expect During an Incision & Drainage Procedure

During the incision and drainage procedure, your AFC provider will begin by administering a local anesthetic to numb the area around the abscess. After the area is numbed, they will create a small incision in the abscess to facilitate the drainage of pus. In some cases, multiple incisions may be required based on the severity and size of the abscess. Following the procedure, the area will be thoroughly cleaned and bandaged, and you will receive detailed instructions on caring for the wound at home, such as keeping it clean and dry and taking any prescribed antibiotics.

Recovering from  Incision & Drainage 

The time it takes for the wound to heal can vary depending on the size of the abscess, but generally, it takes one to two weeks for new skin to grow over the bottom and around the sides of the abscess. Although complications from I&D are rare, please reach out to AFC Urgent Care or a medical professional if you experience any of the following after the procedure:


  • Bleeding
  • Increased pain
  • Redness and swelling
  • Fever