Anal Abscess Overview
An anal abscess is a collection of pus that develops near the anus. It usually arises as a result of inflammation of small anal glands.
About 50% of patients presenting with anal abscess will develop a complication called a perianal fistula in the long term. A fistula is defined as a tunnel-like communication between the abscess cavity and the skin around the anus.
There are certain risk factors for developing an anal abscess, namely:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Use of medication, like corticosteroids
The classical signs and symptoms of an anal abscess include:
- Pain around the anus, especially when sitting down
- Discharge of pus
- Redness and swelling around the affected area
- Low-grade fever
History taking and physical examination are usually sufficient to set the diagnosis of an anal abscess. Occasionally, the surgeon may ask for a CT or an MRI scan to determine the extent and depth of the inflammatory process.