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Incision and drainage below fascia, with or without tendon sheath involvement, foot; multiple areas

CPT4 code

Name of the Procedure:

Incision and Drainage Below Fascia, with or without Tendon Sheath Involvement, Foot; Multiple Areas


Incision and drainage (I&D) is a surgical procedure used to treat infections under the fascia in the foot, and may involve the tendon sheath. The surgeon makes small cuts to drain pus and relieve pressure in one or more areas of the foot.


This procedure addresses severe infections, such as abscesses, that occur beneath the fascia (a connective tissue layer) of the foot. The goal is to remove the infectious material, alleviate pain and swelling, and prevent the spread of infection.


Symptoms or conditions that indicate the need for this procedure include:

  • Severe, localized pain in the foot
  • Swelling, redness, and warmth in specific areas
  • Presence of pus or abscess formation
  • Fever and systemic signs of infection

Patients appropriate for this procedure typically have not responded to antibiotic treatment, or have infections that are visibly localized and accessible for surgical drainage.


  • Patients may need to fast for several hours before the procedure.
  • Adjustments to regular medications might be necessary, particularly blood thinners.
  • Pre-operative assessments will include diagnostic imaging like X-rays or MRIs and blood tests to evaluate infection and general health.

Procedure Description

  1. The patient is positioned to allow easy access to the affected foot.
  2. Sterilization of the foot is performed followed by the administration of local, regional, or general anesthesia to ensure the patient does not feel pain.
  3. The surgeon makes incisions over the infected areas.
  4. Pus and infectious material are drained.
  5. The area is irrigated with saline solution to cleanse it.
  6. Infected tissue may be debrided (removed).
  7. Incisions are left open or partially closed with drains to continue the drainage process.
  8. Dressings are applied to promote healing.

Equipment used includes scalpels, forceps, sterile gauze, irrigation solutions, and drainage tubes.


The procedure typically takes 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the number of areas involved and the extent of infection.


This procedure is usually performed in a hospital or outpatient surgical center.


  • Surgeon
  • Surgical nurse
  • Anesthesiologist (if general or regional anesthesia is used)
  • Operating room technician

Risks and Complications

Common risks:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pain

Rare complications:

  • Nerve damage
  • Significant blood loss
  • Compartment syndrome

Infections may require antibiotics and wound care management to control.


The primary benefit is the immediate relief from pain and pressure caused by infection. Effective drainage helps in rapid recovery, preventing further complications from spreading infections. The patient may start to notice improvement within a few days with proper aftercare.


  • Keep the foot elevated and clean to reduce swelling and promote healing.
  • Dressings should be changed regularly.
  • Pain and antibiotic medications may be prescribed.
  • Limited weight-bearing on the affected foot may be recommended.
  • Follow-up appointments are necessary to monitor healing and remove any remaining drains.

The full recovery period is typically a few weeks, varying with the severity of the infection and patient health.


  • Antibiotic therapy alone, which might be less effective for severe infections.
  • Needle aspiration, effective for smaller abscesses but not suitable for multiple or large infections.

Compared to these alternatives, incision and drainage provide a more immediate and complete resolution of severe and localized infections.

Patient Experience

During the procedure, anesthesia will prevent pain. Post-procedure, there may be mild pain and tenderness at the incision sites, manageable with prescribed pain relief. The patient will need to follow care instructions meticulously to ensure swift recovery and prevent recurrence of infection. Debridement might be uncomfortable, but overall pain management and infection resolution outweigh this temporary discomfort.

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