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.
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.
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.