View your list of saved words. (You can log in using Facebook.)
Localized collection of pus in a cavity in the deeper layers of the skin or within the body, formed from tissues broken down by white blood cells (leukocytes) in response to inflammation caused by bacteria. A wall develops, separating the thick yellowish pus from the extracellular fluid of nearby healthy tissues. Rupture of the abscess allows the pus to escape and relieves swelling and pain. Treatment consists of cutting into the wall to drain the pus and giving antibiotics. If infective contents enter the bloodstream, they may be carried to remote tissues, seeding new abscesses.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on abscess, visit Britannica.com.