1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Abscess Defined


Updated June 19, 2014

abscess, abscessed tooth, abscess surgery

An Abscessed Tooth

Image: ADAM
Definition: An abscess is a collection of pus within the body. An abscess occurs when the body tries to fight an infection within the tissues of the body, sending white blood cells to fight further infection. The blood cells collect around the site of infection, accumulating to form pus.

Abscesses frequently form on the skin, the most commonly known type is a boil. Inside the body, abscesses can be much more serious, causing damage to tissues and organs.

Surgery may be necessary to treat an abscess if antibiotics are ineffective against the infection. An abscess can also be a complication after surgery.

More About Infections After Surgery

Pronunciation: ab-Sess
Also Known As: boil, abscessed tooth, abscesses
Common Misspellings: abcess, absess
After having a root canal the patient experienced an abscess, which required a prescription for antibiotics.
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Surgery
  4. Glossary
  5. What Is an Abscess? (Definition)

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.