Background: Abscesses involving the inguinal region are uncommon as manifestations of complex soft-tissue infections or intra-abdominal pathology, and the routes by which they cause infection are usually unclear and may be overlooked.
Methods: A comprehensive review of reports in the English language literature of the clinical presentations, outcomes, and causes of abscess in the inguinal/groin area requiring surgical intervention. The cases of 33 patients, including 30 patients in 27 reports in the literature and 3 patients in the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital at Chia-Yi, were reviewed to determine the ages, positions, gender, hypothesized causes, diagnostic modalities, and clinical outcomes of abscesses in the inguinal/groin area. Clinical data, laboratory examination findings, and culture results were analyzed.
Results: Inguinal abscesses presented as tender inguinal masses that could extend from gastrointestinal, genitourinary, or retroperitoneal sites as well as being of miscellaneous origin. Most patients with such abscesses presented with fever and leukocytosis. Computed tomography provided a sensitive means for establishing the correct diagnosis and surgical plan of treatment for inguinal sbscesses. Gram-positive pathogens were associated with infections involving hip or thigh muscles and gram-negative pathogens were associated with infections involving the gastrointestinal (GI) and genitourinary (GU) tracts as well as with abscesses of the psoas muscle.
Discussion: The inguinal region communicates through several routes with the peritoneal and retroperitoneal spaces as well as with the region of the thigh. The lymphatics drain from the external genitalia, inferior anal canal or perianal region, adjoining abdominal wall, and the lower extremities. Evaluation of a patient with inguinal abscess and with signs of infection should include computed tomography (CT) to elucidate the extent of infectious disease. Information obtained from CT is important in guiding the prescription of antibiotics and surgical planning for the treatment of inguinal abscesses.
Conclusions: Computed tomography is helpful in diagnosing inguinal abscess and determining the extent of infection. In patients presenting with inguinal abscess. Early recognition of its origin can facilitate further surgical planning and possibly improve the outcome.
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