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Br J Surg. 1985 Jan;72(1):66-7.

Treatment of acute abscesses by incision, curettage and primary suture without antibiotics: a controlled clinical trial.


One hundred and thirty-seven consecutive acute superficial abscesses were randomly allocated to incision, curettage and primary suture without parenteral antibiotics (64 cases) or to conventional treatment with incision, drainage and dressings (73 cases). Wound healing was faster; 7.0 days: 25.1 days (P less than 0.01, Wilcoxon's rank sum test), the number of hospital visits was smaller; 3.8 visits: 11.1 visits (P less than 0.01) and the time off work was shorter; 4.0 days: 14.1 days (P less than 0.01) in the group treated by primary closure compared with those managed conventionally. In this study no complications attributable to the withholding of antibiotics occurred. Incision and primary closure of abscesses is safe and more economic than conventional drainage. Routine antibiotic cover is not necessary.

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