We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Subphrenic Abscess?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A subphrenic abscess is a buildup of pus and other body fluids in an area of the abdomen called the subphrenic space, positioned between the diaphragm and the colon. This medical condition is most commonly the result of a surgical procedure in the abdomen or a perforated ulcer or infection. It is treated with surgery to drain the fluid and antibiotics to address infection. Patients with this condition are most commonly older adults, although a subphrenic abscess can occur in patients of any age.

This condition occurs when infectious material is released into the subphrenic space, where it can float freely and travel as the contents of the abdomen move. After either exploratory or therapeutic surgical procedures, it is possible for an infection to develop and turn into a subphrenic abscess. These abscesses can also occur when a patient with a severely inflamed gallbladder or appendix experiences a rupture, when an anastomosis in the bowel ruptures, or when an ulcer in the stomach perforates through to the abdomen.

Patients can develop symptoms like tenderness and pressure in the abdomen, fever, restlessness, nausea, fatigue, and a feeling of general malaise. The subphrenic abscess will be clearly visible on medical imaging studies like ultrasounds and X-rays, and the abdomen may also feel tender to the touch. If the patient is unstable, medications may be prescribed to get the patient healthy enough for surgery. Once the patient is stable, a surgeon opens up the site of the abscess, drains the material, irrigates it, and implants a tube.

The tube will allow additional pus and other materials to drain as the subphrenic abscess heals. During the surgery, the surgeon will also address the cause of the abscess, performing a repair or removal as needed to stop the buildup of infected material. When the patient wakes up, antibiotics will be administered to address infection, and the tube's output will be monitored as material drains. As the patient heals, the tube will be gradually shortened, until it can be removed altogether.

Subphrenic abscess is one of the possible risks of abdominal surgery, and it is a potential complication of untreated inflammation, infection, and ulceration in the abdomen. Patients at risk for this condition may be advised to monitor their health carefully for any signs of emerging complications. This will allow issues like a subphrenic abscess to be addressed as quickly as possible, ideally before the patient's health has been permanently compromised.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.