3 doctors weighed in:

I've heard different things. What exactly is carbuncle?

3 doctors weighed in
Dr. John Ebner
Dermatology

In brief: A type of abscess

A carbuncle is a variant if an abscess where the infection and puss expands under the skin, causing swelling, pain, possibly fever, resulting in multiple draining areas of puss overlying the swelling mass of the infection.
This is often treated by opening, draining the wound and packing it with gauze and antibiotics. If not treated properly it can cause a blood infection which is quite serious.

In brief: A type of abscess

A carbuncle is a variant if an abscess where the infection and puss expands under the skin, causing swelling, pain, possibly fever, resulting in multiple draining areas of puss overlying the swelling mass of the infection.
This is often treated by opening, draining the wound and packing it with gauze and antibiotics. If not treated properly it can cause a blood infection which is quite serious.
Dr. John Ebner
Dr. John Ebner
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Dr. Tara Passow
Dermatology

In brief: Carbuncle

A carbuncle is similar to a furuncle (boil) except that it has multiple openings and is usually larger. There can be a great deal of swelling and pain, so opening a carbuncle to get pus out and relieve pressure can help a lot with pain.
Warm compresses and pain meds, especially anti-inflammatory meds, can help. I usually put the person on an antibiotic also.

In brief: Carbuncle

A carbuncle is similar to a furuncle (boil) except that it has multiple openings and is usually larger. There can be a great deal of swelling and pain, so opening a carbuncle to get pus out and relieve pressure can help a lot with pain.
Warm compresses and pain meds, especially anti-inflammatory meds, can help. I usually put the person on an antibiotic also.
Dr. Tara Passow
Dr. Tara Passow
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Dr. Morris Westfried
Dermatology

In brief: Bacterial infection

It is a boil on the skin which affects the deep portions of the area.
It needs to be drained to allow the pus out. It will be packed and drainage will continue for a few days resulting in a scar at the site. If there are more than one lesion than oral antibiotics will be prescribed.

In brief: Bacterial infection

It is a boil on the skin which affects the deep portions of the area.
It needs to be drained to allow the pus out. It will be packed and drainage will continue for a few days resulting in a scar at the site. If there are more than one lesion than oral antibiotics will be prescribed.
Dr. Morris Westfried
Dr. Morris Westfried
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