Unexpected findings on point-of-care superficial ultrasound imaging before incision and drainage

Michael Blaivas, Srikar Adhikari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Cutaneous abscesses are typically incised and drained on the basis of clinical assessment. In most cases this procedure is a safe practice. We report 6 cases in which pointof-care ultrasound interrogation of obvious abscesses revealed potential serious complications with planned incision and drainage. Management was altered in 5 of 6 cases, and potential vascular disasters were avoided. In 1 case, the ultrasound results were ignored, and incision and drainage was completed, confirming the suspected abscess was indeed a solid mass later diagnosed as a carcinoma. In this case series, pointof-care ultrasound interrogation provided rapid assessment and discovery of potentially catastrophic anatomic relationships, avoiding serious complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1425-1430
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • Abscess
  • Emergency ultrasound
  • Incision and drainage
  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound
  • Skin infection
  • Soft tissue infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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