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Radiographics. 2002 Nov-Dec;22(6):1353-67.

CT-guided transgluteal drainage of deep pelvic abscesses: indications, technique, procedure-related complications, and clinical outcome.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Deep pelvic abscesses may present a unique challenge for percutaneous drainage because of numerous overlying structures, which preclude safe percutaneous access. These structures include the pelvic bones, intestine, bladder, iliac vessels, and gynecologic organs. Use of the transgluteal approach to drain these abscesses can circumvent these obstacles and provide a useful surgical alternative or a temporizing measure. The transgluteal approach requires a thorough understanding of the anatomy of the sciatic foramen region and associated anatomic structures. The ideal approach for transgluteal access is to insert the catheter as close to the sacrum as possible, at the level of the sacrospinous ligament. Transgluteal drainage can be performed with the tandem-trocar technique or the Seldinger technique. Modifications of the procedure are needle aspiration not followed by catheter placement, use of the angled gantry technique, bilateral transgluteal drainage, combined anterior and posterior drainage, and drainage of necrotic pelvic masses. The transgluteal approach is a useful option in pediatric patients. Daily catheter care is essential for successful percutaneous catheter therapy. Although pain has been cited as a common complication of the technique, this complication can be minimized with judicious use of analgesia and a meticulous technique. Other complications are hemorrhage and catheter malposition.

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