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Incision and Drainage Versus Needle Aspiration in Soft Tissue Abscesses

This study has been completed.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Information provided by:
University of Massachusetts, Worcester Identifier:
First received: March 10, 2010
Last updated: March 11, 2010
Last verified: March 2010
The incidence of skin and soft tissue infections has increased dramatically over the last decade, in part due to increased prevalence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA). Incision and drainage (I&D) is considered the primary intervention, however some clinicians prefer ultrasound guided needle aspiration (US Asp). The investigators performed a randomized trial comparing US Asp to I&D for uncomplicated skin and soft tissue abscesses, with a subgroup analysis of patients with CA-MRSA.

Condition Intervention Phase
Abscess Cellulitis Procedure: Incision and Drainage Procedure: Ultrasound Guided Aspiration Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Ultrasound Guided Needle Drainage Versus Formal Incision and Drainage of Superficial Soft Tissue Abscesses in the Emergency Department Setting

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by University of Massachusetts, Worcester:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Successful drainage of abscess [ Time Frame: 7 days ]
    Clinical outcome at 7 days

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Successful drainage of abscess [ Time Frame: 2 days ]
    Healing of abscess following drainage procedure at day 2

  • Ability to evacuate purulence from abscess [ Time Frame: Day 1 ]
    Amount of purulence produced by drainage procedure on day 1

Enrollment: 101
Study Start Date: August 2008
Study Completion Date: December 2009
Primary Completion Date: November 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Active Comparator: Incision and Drainage
Abscess underwent incision and drainage
Procedure: Incision and Drainage
Surgical incision of the skin surface followed by expression of purulence with or without debridement or manual exploration of abscess cavity.
Active Comparator: Ultrasound guided needle aspiration
Ultrasound was used to identify the abscess location. A needle was introduced into the abscess cavity and aspiration of the contents were attempted.
Procedure: Ultrasound Guided Aspiration
Ultrasound is used to identify the abscess cavity. An 18 gauge needle is introduced into the abscess cavity and manual aspiration of the abscess contents is attempted.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • presenting to emergency department with skin abscess
  • abscess required surgical drainage
  • healthy appearing

Exclusion Criteria:

  • pregnant
  • unable to give consent
  • abscess located in oral cavity
  • abscess located on genitalia
  • abscess located intra-gluteal at coccyx
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01085929

United States, Massachusetts
Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02215
University of Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts, United States, 01655
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Massachusetts, Worcester
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Principal Investigator: Romolo Gaspari, MD, PhD University of Massachusetts, Worcester
  More Information

Responsible Party: Romolo Gaspari, University of Massachusetts Identifier: NCT01085929     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: UMass12522
Study First Received: March 10, 2010
Last Updated: March 11, 2010

Keywords provided by University of Massachusetts, Worcester:
ultrasound guidance
incision and drainage
needle aspiration

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Pathologic Processes
Skin Diseases, Infectious
Connective Tissue Diseases processed this record on September 21, 2017