Anorectal Abscess

  • Parswa Ansari, Assistant Professor and Program Director in Surgery, Hofstra Northwell-Lenox Hill Hospital, New York

  • MSD Manual
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  • An anorectal abscess is a localized collection of pus in the perirectal spaces. Abscesses usually originate in an anal crypt. Symptoms are pain and swelling. Diagnosis is primarily by examination and CT or pelvic MRI for deeper abscesses. Treatment is surgical drainage.

    (See also Evaluation of Anorectal Disorders.)

    An abscess may be located in various spaces surrounding the rectum and may be superficial or deep. A perianal abscess is superficial and points to the skin. An ischiorectal abscess is deeper, extending across the sphincter into the ischiorectal space below the levator ani; it may penetrate to the contralateral side, forming a “horseshoe” abscess. An abscess above the levator ani (ie, supralevator abscess) is quite deep and may extend to the peritoneum or abdominal organs; this abscess often results from Colonic Diverticulitis or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Crohn Disease (especially of the colon) sometimes causes anorectal abscess. A mixed infection usually occurs, with Escherichia coli , Proteus vulgaris , Bacteroides, streptococci, and staphylococci predominating.

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  • Last modified in -By Parswa Ansari
    Last review 07-2018

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