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Skin lesion aspiration

Definition

Skin lesion aspiration is the withdrawal of fluid from a skin lesion (sore).

How the test is performed

A needle is inserted into a skin lesion or skin abscess, which may contain fluid or pus. The fluid may be examined under the microscope or placed in a special laboratory dish (called a culture medium), where it will be watched for the growth of microorganisms.

How to prepare for the test

There is no special preparation for this test.

How the test will feel

If the abscess is deep, the health care provider may inject a numbing medicine (anesthetic) into the skin before inserting the needle.

You may feel a pricking sensation as the needle enters the skin.

In many cases, the removal of fluid will decrease the pressure within the irritates skin sore, and relieve your pain.

Why the test is performed

This test is used to help determine the cause of a fluid-filled skin lesion. It can be used to diagnose skin infections.

What abnormal results mean

Abnormal results may be a sign of a bacterial or fungal skin infection.

What the risks are

There is a slight risk of bleeding, mild pain, or infection.

References

Butler KH. Incision and drainage. In: Roberts JR, Hedges JR, eds. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009:chap 37.


Review Date: 10/10/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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