Keywords: Pelvic abscess, Cerebral abscess

Key Information

Appropriate Tests


Ensure that the site of the abscess and any antibiotic therapy are stated on the request form.

Pus, obtained by aspiration, surgical drainage or spontaneous rupture for microscopy and culture (MCS pus). Fungal (MCS fungal) and/or mycobacterial culture (Mycobacteria testing) need to be specifically requested if clinically indicated.

Biopsy of abscess wall may assist in the diagnosis of fungal, parasitic or mycobacterial infection (eg, skin abscess).

If appropriate: collect clotted blood for amoeba antibodies (Entamoeba histolytica) (eg, liver, cerebral abscess), Cryptococcal Ag (eg, cerebral abscess), swabs or aspirates from the abscess for microscopy and culture eg. genital (cervical) swab in patients with a Bartholin's abscess for N gonorrhoea and anaerobic bacteria as well as local genital flora.

White cell count differential, Blood film, C-Reactive protein occasionally indicated for monitoring response to therapy.

Recurrent, chronic or multiple abscesses

See Infection (increased susceptibility).

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