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Dermatol Online J. 2008 Mar 15;14(3):11.

Tuberculous empyema necessitatis. A rare cause of cutaneous abscess in the XXI century.

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Servicio de Neumología. Hospital San Juan de Alicante.


A 24-year-old Moroccan man was admitted to the hospital because of a tumor of the abdominal wall, fever, and purulent sputum. Imaging tests showed the presence of a pleural effusion and tumor in the right abdominal wall. The organized collection of liquid in the mass was contiguous with the thoracic collection and that of the subphrenic space. Thoracocentesis removed purulent material suggestive of empyema. Cultures and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests confirmed the diagnosis of tuberculous empyema. Empyema necessitatis refers to empyema that extends into the extrapleural space through a defect in the pleural surface. Various infectious etiologies may be responsible. Tuberculous empyema necessitatis is a rare complication of tuberculosis (TB); our case is even more unusual because this condition presented as an abdominal wall abcess and the patient was immunocompetent. His only predisposing factors were his country of origin, where there is a high prevalence of TB and the delay in diagnosis due to a lack of access to health care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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