Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Carbuncle Treatment

Treatment for a carbuncle incudes incision and drainage, which is the procedure used to open the carbuncle. Once the carbuncle is opened, bacteria and pus drain from the cavity. This procedure can be performed in the emergency room or clinic. Depending on the severity, treatment with antibiotics may also be required. In most cases, a carbuncle usually resolves within 2 weeks with proper treatment.

Treatment for a carbuncle may include:

Incision and drainage includes:
  • The skin is sterilized using rubbing alcohol or an antibacterial soap.
  • A local anesthetic is injected into the tissues surrounding the carbuncle.
  • An incision is made with a scalpel.
  • Pus is drained from the carbuncle.
  • The abscess cavity is flushed clean.
  • In some cases, a rubber drain or a strip of sterile gauze is packed inside the abscess cavity.
  • The gauze or drain placed inside the abscess cavity is usually removed 24-36 hours later.

Carbuncle Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat a carbuncle:

Continue to Carbuncle Home Care

Last Updated: Jun 3, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Carbuncle References
  1. Shah AM, Supe AN, Samsi AB. Carbuncle--a conservative approach. J Postgrad Med. 1987 Apr;33(2):55-7. [3681747]
  2. Stulberg DL, Penrod MA, Blatny RA. Common bacterial skin infections. Am Fam Physician. 2002 Jul 1;66(1):119-24. [12126026]
  3. Trent JT, Federman D, Kirsner RS. Common bacterial skin infections. Ostomy Wound Manage. 2001 Aug;47(8):30-4. [11890001]
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