Skin lesion aspiration

Definition
Skin lesion aspiration is the withdrawal of fluid from a skin lesion (sore).

How the test is performed
A needle is inserted into a skin lesion or skin abscess, which may contain fluid or pus. The fluid may be examined under the microscope or placed in culture media to observe for the growth of microorganisms.

How to prepare for the test
There is no special preparation for this test.

Infants and children:
The physical and psychological preparation you can provide for this or any test or procedure depends on your child’s age, interests, previous experience, and level of trust. For specific information regarding how you can prepare your child, see the following topics as they correspond to your child’s age:

How the test will feel
If the abscess is deep, a local anesthetic may be injected into the skin to numb the area. There will be a pricking sensation as the needle enters the skin. In many cases, the removal of fluid will decrease the pressure within the tense, irritated lesion and relieve the pain.

Why the test is performed
This test is used to help determine the cause of a fluid-filled skin lesion. It can be used to diagnose skin infections.

What abnormal results mean

The results may indicate a bacterial or fungal skin infection.

What the risks are
There is a slight risk of bleeding or infection.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 6, 2012
by Dave R. Roger, M.D.

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