Abscess Incision & Drainage in Fletcher NC | AFC Urgent Care South Asheville

Dealing with a painful abscess or cyst? Stop by AFC Urgent Care South Asheville today for Incision & Drainage with no appointment necessary.

If you’ve ever had a painful, swollen lump on your skin, chances are you’ve experienced an abscess or severe cyst. Abscesses and cysts are common, but they can be uncomfortable and even dangerous if left untreated. Fortunately, AFC Urgent Care offers an abscess incision and drainage service that can quickly and effectively treat your symptoms.

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

Abscesses and cysts are both types of lumps that can form under the skin, but they are caused by different factors and have distinct characteristics.

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

In contrast, a cyst is a sac or pocket that contains fluid, air, or other materials. Cysts can be caused by a variety of factors, such as blocked ducts, infections or inherited conditions. Unlike abscesses, cysts are typically painless and may feel firm or spongy to the touch. Cysts can occur anywhere on the body but are mostly found on the skin, in the ovaries or in the kidneys.

Abscess Signs & Symptoms

An abscess is a collection of pus that forms under the skin or in a body cavity as a result of an infection. The symptoms of an abscess can vary depending on its location, but there are some common signs and symptoms that can help you recognize an abscess.

  • Pain: Abscesses can be painful, and the pain may increase over time as the abscess grows. The pain may be described as a dull ache or a sharp, stabbing sensation.
  • Redness and swelling: The skin around the abscess may appear red and swollen. The affected area may also feel warm to the touch.
  • Pus or fluid: Abscesses are filled with pus, a thick, yellowish fluid that contains dead white blood cells, bacteria, and other debris. If the abscess is close to the surface of the skin, you may be able to see pus draining from the abscess.
  • Fever: In some cases, an abscess can cause a fever. A fever is a sign that your body is trying to fight off an infection.
  • Difficulty moving: If the abscess is located near a joint, it may make it difficult to move the affected joint.

It’s important to note that not all abscesses cause symptoms, especially if they are small or located deep within the body. Abscesses can be treated with antibiotics and/or drainage, but if left untreated, they can lead to more serious complications.

What causes an abscess?

When bacteria become trapped under your skin due to sweat or oil gland blockage, it can lead to the development of an abscess. People typically seek medical attention when the infection and inflammation become unbearable. An abscess may arise from a cut or injury to your skin, which can make it more vulnerable to bacterial infection.

If you have diabetes, severe eczema or acne, smoke, have close contact with someone with a staph infection or have a weakened immune system, you may be at greater risk of developing an abscess.

Do I need Incision and Drainage?

The procedure of incision and drainage is used to alleviate pressure and pain caused by the buildup of fluid in abscesses and cysts. The purpose of the procedure is to allow the fluid to drain out, which can reduce the size of the abscess or cyst and prevent the spread of infection. Without the procedure, the abscess may not fully heal on its own and antibiotics alone may not be effective in eliminating the bacteria within the abscess cavity. If left untreated, the abscess 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 Incision & Drainage

The procedure for incision and drainage may vary depending on the type and severity of the abscess but the process is generally straightforward. First, your AFC provider will use a local anesthetic to numb the area surrounding the abscess. Once the area is numb, a small incision will be made in the abscess to allow the pus to drain out. Additional incisions may be necessary depending on the size and depth of the abscess. After the procedure, the area will be cleaned and bandaged, and you will be given specific instructions on how to care for the wound at home, including keeping it clean and dry and taking any prescribed antibiotics.

Incision & Drainage Recovery

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


  • Bleeding
  • Increased Pain
  • Redness and Swelling
  • Fever