Skin and Soft Tissue Infections

Children can develop skin and soft tissue infections that collect pus at any age. At Mount Sinai, we have extensive experience diagnosing and treating these common conditions:  

  • Soft tissue abscess is an infection of the skin and underlying tissue that causes pus to collect.
  • Pilonidal abscesses are collections of pus (abscesses) in the lower back region near the gluteal fold. They can be caused by infected hair follicles or underlying infections that are not cured with antibiotics and simple drainage.
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa is a condition that involves small, painful lumps under the skin that usually affects areas with hair follicles, such as the armpits, the groin, under the breasts and between the buttocks.
  • Perianal abscesses are painful collections of pus that develop near the anal opening. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

At Mount Sinai, we typically diagnose skin and soft tissue infections by physical examination and point-of-care ultrasound. Treatment varies by type of abscess. Specifically, we take the following approaches:

  • Soft tissue abscesses can be treated by draining the pus. We focus on making small incisions and make every effort to avoid painful dressing changes whenever possible.
  • Pilonidal abscesses are treated by surgically removing all infected tissue, to reduce the risk of recurrence. 
  • Hidradenitis suppurativa, if it does not respond to appropriate medical therapy, can be treated with surgical removal of the affected skin and underlying soft tissue.
  • Perianal abscesses are treated by draining the pus and performing daily warm soaks called “Sitz baths”.