Perianal Abscess/Perianal Fistula

An abscess in the rectal region is caused by an infection, which may start when a small gland in the rectum becomes infected from bacteria trapped in the gland or in the skin. Abscesses that start in the skin typically can be drained and will usually heal without any problems. A few of these abscesses will have a pilonidal cyst, which may need to be removed at a later date.

Perinatal abscesses also may have an underlying fistula, a small passage connecting the anal gland from which the abscess arose to the skin where the abscess was drained. If the gland does not heal, there will be persistent drainage through this passage. If the outside opening of the fistula heals first, a recurrent abscess may develop. The fistula may require further treatment; it is important to follow up after drainage of an abscess to ensure that the abscess completely heals and there are no further issues.