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Radiology. 2003 Sep;228(3):701-5. Epub 2003 Jul 24.

Transgluteal approach for percutaneous drainage of deep pelvic abscesses: 154 cases.

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Division of Abdominal Imaging and Intervention, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St, White 270, Boston, MA 02114, USA.



To assess the effectiveness of a computed tomographic (CT) image-guided transgluteal approach for percutaneous drainage of deep pelvic abscesses as an alternative to surgical drainage.


The medical records of 140 patients who underwent percutaneous CT-guided transgluteal drainage of 154 deep pelvic abscesses were reviewed to determine the origins, location, and size of the abscesses; volume of initial aspirate; organisms identified in fluid culture; duration of catheter drainage; incidence of catheter-related pain and procedure-related complications; and short- and long-term outcomes. The resultant data were analyzed with a Fisher exact test for difference in the incidence of postprocedural catheter-site pain between transpiriformis and infrapiriformis approaches.


The origins of the pelvic abscesses included postoperative fluid collection (n = 115), perforating appendicitis (n = 6), diverticulitis (n = 16), tubo-ovarian inflammation (n = 5), Crohn disease (n = 10), and internal bowel fistula due to irradiation (n = 2). The abscesses were 4-12 cm in diameter. The volume of the aspirate was 5-310 mL. Laboratory cultures of the aspirate grew mixed flora, but the organism most frequently isolated was Escherichia coli. Catheters were removed after a mean of 8 days. In 134 (96%) of 140 patients, there was complete resolution of the abscess following transgluteal drainage, without subsequent surgery. In six of 140 (4%) patients, incomplete resolution necessitated subsequent surgery for postoperative fluid collection (n = 3), diverticulitis (n = 2), or perforating appendicitis (n = 1). Complications of transgluteal drainage were rare and included hemorrhage in three (2%) of the 140 patients. There was no procedure-related mortality. A transpiriformis approach was significantly more likely to be associated with postprocedural pain (P <.001) than was an infrapiriformis approach.


Percutaneous CT-guided transgluteal drainage is a safe and effective alternative to surgery for deep pelvic abscesses. Major complications are rare.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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