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Incision and drainage of vulva or perineal abscess

CPT4 code

Name of the Procedure:

Incision and Drainage (I&D) of Vulva or Perineal Abscess


Incision and drainage of a vulva or perineal abscess is a minor surgical procedure used to treat a localized collection of pus that has formed within the vulva or perineal region.


This procedure aims to alleviate pain and discomfort caused by the abscess, prevent the spread of infection, and promote healing by draining the accumulated pus.


  • Presence of a painful, swollen, and often red area in the vulva or perineal regions.
  • Symptoms such as fever or general malaise due to infection.
  • Failure of the abscess to resolve with antibiotics alone.
  • Abscess that is fluctuant and palpable on physical examination.


  • Patients may need to fast for a few hours before the procedure, especially if sedation or anesthesia will be used.
  • Pre-procedure assessment including a physical examination and possibly imaging studies to determine the extent of the abscess.
  • Patients should inform their healthcare provider about any medications they are taking, especially blood thinners.

Procedure Description

  1. The area around the abscess is cleaned and disinfected.
  2. Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area. In some cases, sedation or general anesthesia may be used.
  3. A small incision is made over the abscess to allow for drainage of the pus.
  4. The cavity is sometimes irrigated with saline solution to clear out any remaining debris.
  5. A sterile dressing may be applied, and the area might be packed with gauze to absorb any further discharge.
  6. If required, a small drain may be placed to keep the wound open for continued drainage.


The procedure typically takes about 30 to 60 minutes.


  • Hospital
  • Outpatient clinic
  • Surgical center


  • Surgeon or gynecologist
  • Nurses
  • Anesthesiologist (if sedation or general anesthesia is used)

Risks and Complications

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Recurrence of the abscess
  • Scarring
  • Pain at the incision site


  • Relief from pain and pressure caused by the abscess.
  • Reduction of infection spread.
  • Faster healing process compared to conservative treatments.


  • Patients are usually able to go home the same day.
  • Pain and discomfort can be managed with prescribed medications.
  • Keep the area clean and dry, and follow wound care instructions.
  • Avoid strenuous activities for several days.
  • Follow-up appointments may be needed to monitor healing.


  • Antibiotic therapy alone, which may be effective in early or small abscesses but often not sufficient.
  • Needle aspiration, though less effective for complete drainage.
  • Warm compresses to help the abscess to drain naturally.

Patient Experience

During the procedure, patients will feel minimal discomfort if local anesthesia is effective. Some pressure or tugging sensations might be felt. Post-procedure, there might be soreness, and pain medication will be provided to manage any discomfort. Full recovery typically involves minimal pain and a significant reduction in symptoms within a few days.

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