Incision and Drainage

Incision and drainage is a procedure in which a sac-like structure (cystic structure) is opened and drained. The area to be drained usually contains material such as pus, fluid, or blood.


  • Allergies to medicine.

  • Medicines taken, including vitamins, herbs, eyedrops, over-the-counter medicines, and creams.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or numbing medicines.

  • History of bleeding problems or blood clots.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Other health problems, including diabetes and kidney problems.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.


  • Pain.

  • Bleeding.

  • Scarring.

  • Infection.


You may need to have an ultrasound or other imaging tests to see how large or deep your cystic structure is. Blood tests may also be used to determine if you have an infection or how severe the infection is. You may need to have a tetanus shot.


The affected area is cleaned with a cleaning fluid. The cyst area will then be numbed with a medicine (local anesthetic). A small incision will be made in the cystic structure. A syringe or catheter may be used to drain the contents of the cystic structure, or the contents may be squeezed out. The area will then be flushed with a cleansing solution. After cleansing the area, it is often gently packed with a gauze or another wound dressing. Once it is packed, it will be covered with gauze and tape or some other type of wound dressing. 


  • Often, you will be allowed to go home right after the procedure.

  • You may be given antibiotic medicine to prevent or heal an infection.

  • If the area was packed with gauze or some other wound dressing, you will likely need to come back in 1 to 2 days to get it removed.

  • The area should heal in about 14 days.