Clinical Immunology Review Series: An approach to the patient with recurrent superficial abscesses


  • Series Originator: Edward Kaminski Series Editor: Stephen Jolles

S. L. Johnston, North Bristol NHS Trust, Department of Immunology and Immunogenetics, Southmead Hospital, Westbury on Trym, Bristol BS10 5NB, UK.


Patients may be referred to the immunology clinic for investigation of recurrent superficial abscess formation. In the majority of adult patients this clinical presentation does not equate with an underlying primary immune deficiency. Nevertheless, recurrent mucocutaneous abscesses can be associated with significant morbidity and long-term complications, including scarring and fistula formation, and may be associated with underlying immune-mediated disease. This review sets out an approach to the patient with recurrent superficial abscesses, focusing on the differential diagnoses, investigation and management of both the common causes and those associated with specific immune deficiency.