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Surgery Research and Practice
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 308270, 4 pages
Research Article

Management of Superficial Abscesses: Scope for Day Case Surgery

Department of Surgery, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Plymouth PL6 8DH, UK

Received 10 January 2014; Revised 26 March 2014; Accepted 18 May 2014; Published 26 May 2014

Academic Editor: Frank A. Frizelle

Copyright © 2014 Martha Nixon and Jacob A. Akoh. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Patients presenting with superficial abscesses are often regarded as low priority and given a less efficient service. Aim. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficiency of emergency treatment of superficial abscesses and to identify areas for service improvement. Method. A retrospective case review of patients admitted to Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, over a four-month period. Results. Ninety-seven patients were included in the study. Seventy two (74%) arrived between 08.00 and 16.00 hours. Overall, 75 patients (77%) were referred on weekdays with 22 patients (23%) during weekends. Seventy-two patients (74%) had treatment under a general anaesthetic. Sixty-three percent of operations occurred within the working day. The time interval between admission and surgery ranged from 52 minutes to 38 hours (mean ± SD 16 ± 9.15). The length of admission ranged from 5.3 hours to 11 days (mean 36 hours). Of the one hundred overnight beds used by the 97 patients, 30 nights were spent awaiting surgery and 70 following surgery and awaiting discharge. Conclusion. Eighty-nine percent of the patients would have been suitable for treatment as day cases. This review shows that a simple service redesign has the potential of reducing inpatient bed occupancy and improving the patient’s journey.