Gluteal Abscesses & Their Causes
If you have suffered from a gluteal abscess that was not properly treated, you will want to know why this happened, and what you can do about it. Read on to find the common causes of gluteal abscesses and action you can take, including a making a medical negligence claim enquiry.
For a free, initial discussion about a gluteal abscess with one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors, please call us free now on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01761 490883) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.
What is a Gluteal Abscess?
An abscess is a collection of pus, a thick fluid which contains white blood cells, dead tissue and bacteria. On appearance, an abscess will be a hard lump surrounded by inflamed tissue. They can develop anywhere on the body, but commonly occur under the skin close to the anus – known as a gluteal abscess.
Therefore a gluteal abscess does not grow in the anus itself (a perianal abscess) but below it. To be precise, they form under the skin on the subcutaneous plane of the buttock muscle. This usually occurs when the glands in the perianal area become infected. However, a gluteal abscess may also arise from the necrosis of fat in the buttock, which is caused by repeated trauma to the tissue (for example, from frequent injections).
Symptoms of a Gluteal Abscess
When a gluteal abscess begins to grow, the patient will notice a lump close to the anus. Depending upon the severity of the condition, he/she may also suffer the following symptoms:-
- Pain around the buttocks;
- Red, inflamed tissue around the buttocks which is hot to touch;
- An upset stomach;
- Diarrhoea and vomiting;
How Should a Gluteal Abscess be Treated?
A gluteal abscess can readily be identified upon examination, as the lump will often be apparent, while the area will be red and swollen. Once an abscess has formed and been diagnosed, treatment should be provided by way of surgical drainage. This should be done under general anaesthetic, and should be performed within a timely fashion. Otherwise, infection may spread, and necrosis of the tissue is a possibility.
It is also worth noting that antibiotics have little use in treating an abscess, as the medication cannot penetrate the pus. Nevertheless, antibiotics may be used to treat the other effects of infection (such as fever), which can be particularly important in patients with other health complications.
Causes Of Gluteal Abscesses and Medical Negligence
If there is a delay in diagnosing and treating a gluteal abscess, a patient’s health could be put at serious risk. Indeed, an untreated abscess is likely to make someone very ill, and could lead to Necrotising Fasciitis (a flesh-eating disease), extensive debridement of the tissue, unsightly scarring and even an anal fistula. If this has happened to you, you need to speak to a legal expert. This is because you may well have been the victim of medical negligence, meaning the treatment you received for your gluteal abscess fell below an acceptable standard of care.
Complications Of A Gluteal Abscess
As mentioned above, a gluteal abscess that is not quickly diagnosed and treated can result in serious health complications. These include:
- Necrotising fasciitis – Necrotising fasciitis is a bacterial infection of the deep tissues. It is a very aggressive infection that destroys the tissue. It often occurs because bacteria have entered the body through a gap in the skin, such as a scratch or surgical wound. However, it can also arise as a result of another infection inside the body, such as an abscess. What happens is that the pus begins to drain out of the abscess, and the bacteria inside the pus spread to the tissues. The bacteria then begin to reproduce, a process which releases a poisonous toxin. This injures the blood vessels, disrupting the blood supply and leaving the tissues deficient in oxygen. The tissue then begins to break down – a process known as tissue necrosis.
- Extensive debridement – when an infection such as Necrotising fasciitis begins to kill the body’s tissues, an operation will be needed to remove the dead material. This is called surgical debridement. Soft tissue infections like Necrotising fasciitis move very quickly, so it will not take long before the tissue surrounding the abscess has been destroyed. All of this tissue will have to be surgically removed. The longer the infection remains in the body, the more extensive the debridement will be. This can leave unpleasant scarring and dysfunction, particularly if parts of the rectum or bowel have been removed.
- Anal fistula – if the abscess is close to the anus, the bacteria can also ‘eat’ their way through the anal mucosa. Of course the bacteria are not actually eating the tissue, but the toxins are destroying the tissue, giving it the appearance that they are being eaten. This can lead to an ano-rectal fistula where a channel opens up between the anus and the rectum (the end of the bowel). This will cause faeces and other waste products to seep into the channel, resulting in further infection and illness.
- Colostomy – sometimes the complications described above will means that parts of the anus, rectum or bowel must be removed. The patient will subsequently be unable to pass faeces normally – either until they have recovered or on a permanent basis. If so, the patient will have to be fitted with a colostomy, which is when faeces is diverted from the bowel, through a hole in the abdomen and collects in a bag which sits on top of the skin.
Compensation For A Gluteal Abscess
If you have suffered complications because your gluteal abscess was not diagnosed and treated in as reasonable amount of time, you could be eligible to pursue a claim. A successful claim will ensure you are awarded compensation that reflects the injuries you have wrongfully endured.
More Information About A Gluteal Abscess?
We are here to help you. If you have a gluteal abscess and would like some more advice, please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01761 490883) or complete an Online Enquiry and let us explain your rights and options.
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