Medical Definition of Abscess

Abscess: A local accumulation of pus anywhere in the body. The following are some examples of abscesses:

  1. A skin abscess is better known as a common boil;
  2. A peritonsillar abscess is a persistent collection of pus behind the tonsils; and
  3. A perianal abscess is a pool of pus that forms next to the anus, often causing considerable tenderness and swelling in that area and pain on sitting down and on defecating.
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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016

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