An abscess is a pocket of infection in the soft tissue of the body which may be caused by a variety of bacteria. Often, these need to be surgically drained in order to remove pus and dead tissue and allow the body to heal. Numbing medication is given in and around the abscess before a surgical scalpel is used to open the pocket and allow pus to drain. Depending on the size of the abscess, it may be “packed” with a sterile material to leave the skin open and allow continued drainage to promote healing. Often, an antibiotic will also be given to help the body fight the infection.