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Furuncle And Carbuncle : Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Saturday, July 14th 2012. | Skin, Hair and Nails

Furuncle and Carbuncle Definition

The boil is characterized by a purulent inflammation of bacterial origin of the pilosebaceous follicle. Immunocompromised individuals, several boils can be observed simultaneously. This is called furunculosis. The confluence of several boils in a single area of skin infection is a carbuncle.

Skin areas most often affected are the neck, armpits, buttocks and groin.

Furuncle And Carbuncle Causes

The infection of the pilosebaceous follicle is most often caused by bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus.

Predisposing factors :

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • AIDS
  • Other diseases characterized by a weak immune system
  • Poor hygiene
  • Presence of fatty substances on the skin that can clog the hair follicle and thus favor the appearance of boils.

Without proper treatment, the infection can spread via the lymphatic or blood and cause lymphangitis or septicemia.

folliculitis skin diagram (img : skin-care-health.org)

Boils on the face are particularly dangerous because the inflammation can spread to the deep veins of the brain and cause thrombosis. This is a medical emergency because the cerebral vein thrombosis can be life-threatening issues.

Furuncle And Carbuncle Disorders (symptoms)

  • Red and hot nodule under the skin
  • The nodule is initially hard to palpation, and fluctuates (because of pus)
  • Pain in the nodule and its surroundings
  • Eventually, rupture of the boil with pus
  • In case of lymphangitis, pain and redness of the surrounding areas
  • Eventually, swelling of lymph nodes

Furuncle And Carbuncle Examinations (diagnosis)

  • History taking into account the patient’s presenting symptoms of
  • Thorough inspection of the skin and lymph nodes
  • Eventually, smear to support identification of pathogenic lagent
  • Eventually, laboratory

Furuncle And Carbuncle Treatment Options

You should never handle a boil, especially if located on the face, to prevent the spread of inflammation. Treatment depends on the stage of evolution of the boil. If the inflammation is unevolved, spontaneous recovery is possible. It is possible to accelerate the maturation of the boil by applying hot compresses. When the boil is ripe, it contains almost exclusively pus, your doctor will sometimes boil a small incision with removal of necrotic tissue, followed by hygiene and application of antiseptics.

Antibiotic treatment is generally prescribed in cases of recurrent boils, extensive and troublesome. If the boil is located on the face, antibiotic treatment is preferable to a surgical incision. In this case, bed rest is often described as the administration of a semi-liquid diet.

Furuncle And Carbuncle

Furuncle And Carbuncle Picture (img : mylot.com)

Furuncle And Carbuncle Possible Complications

  • Recurrent boils (at the same location or at another location), in which case, one should look for contributing factors.
  • Spread of infection through the lymph or blood, which can lead to life-threatening septicemia on
  • Location of the boil in the upper face: danger of extension of inflammation to the development of deep vein thrombosis with venous
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