Image guided drainage versus antibiotic only treatment of pelvic abscesses Short term and long term outcomes

Patients with pelvic abscess treated with antibiotics alone are more likely to require surgical intervention than patients who also receive image guided drainage.


Justin To, M.D., Diana Aldape, M.D., Andrei Frost, M.D., Gary Goldberg, M.D., Mark Levie, M.D., Scott Chudnoff, M.D., M.S.

Volume 102, Issue 4, Pages 1155-1159



To determine the efficacy of image-guided drainage versus antibiotic-only treatment of pelvic abscesses.


Retrospective cohort analysis.


An academic, inner-city medical center.


Women ages 11–49, admitted between 1998 and 2008 with ICD9 code 614.x (inflammatory diseases of ovary, fallopian tube, pelvic cellular tissue, and peritoneum).


Medical records search, chart review, and phone survey.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Surgical intervention.


We identified 6,151 initial patients, of whom 240 patients met inclusion criteria. Of the included patients, 199 women received antibiotic-only treatment, and 41 received additional image-guided drainage. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of age, body mass index, parity, incidence of diabetes, obesity, endometriosis, or history of sexually transmitted infection excluding human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Abscesses in the drainage cohort were noted to be larger in dimension (5.9 cm vs. 8.5 cm); 16.1% of patients who received antibiotics alone required surgical intervention versus only 2.4% of the drainage cohort. Patients who received drainage had longer hospital stays, but the time from treatment to discharge was similar in both groups (7.4 days vs. 6.7 days). We successfully contacted 150 patients, and the differences in long-term pregnancy outcomes, pain, or infertility were not statistically significant.


Patients who received antibiotics alone were more likely to require further surgical intervention when compared with patients who additionally received image-guided drainage. There were no observable long-term differences.

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