Based on 2013 data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, cutaneous abscesses accounted for about 2% of all presentations to the emergency department . The same data reports that 0.9% of all patients who presented to the emergency department underwent incision and drainage (I&D). As such, being well versed in the anatomy of cysts and abscesses, how to perform cystectomy or incision and drainage, and how to suture their closure is essential for each health care professional.
Anatomy of Cysts and Abscesses
A cyst is a sac or cavity that can form inside your body or on the surface of your skin that is filled with fluid, and may feel like a hard lump. Similarly, an abscess is a localized collection of pus that occurs within the dermis and subcutaneous space of the skin. They both can develop virtually anywhere on the body; common locations include the groin, buttocks, axillae, and extremities. In most cases, cysts and abscesses can be diagnosed clinically on the basis of physical examination alone. The cyst feels like a hard lump, grows slowly and usually isn’t painful (unless it grows large). The classic characteristics of an abscess are erythema, induration, tenderness to palpation, and fluctuance. Most patients with an abscess should have incision and drainage performed, as antibiotic therapy alone is not sufficient for treatment.
Many of the required techniques that today’s students need to learn are overlooked in the name of cost-savings. As an example, there exists a challenge in learning the theoretical concepts of I&D in the classroom and taking them into the lab. Currently there are just not a lot of options on the market for I&D practice materials, thus forcing students to make up models on their own. These might consist of extremely low-tech alternatives that students can practice cutting into, ranging from custard donuts to Ziploc bags with mayo or pudding in them.
While these options save the training program money (and can make the students very hungry!), the long-term cost of makeshift training is significant:
- Reduced student exposure to life-like scenarios
- Students who are less confident in their I&D technique
- Higher anxiety when actually performing in the real world
SurgiReal is the Solution
That’s where SurgicReal comes in. The SurgiReal simulated cyst/abscess tissue pad is a high fidelity, life-like reproduction of a cyst and an abscess. On one-half of the SurgiReal pad there is an encapsulated cyst with a delicate wall that will burst if not handled appropriately - just like an actual cyst! With meticulous dissection, the cyst can be removed en masse. On the other half of the pad there is an abscess that can be drained. The abscess can be manually expressed, dissected of internal loculations, and packed with dressing material. The skin can be suture closed after each procedure. The skin actually feels authentic and holds sutures just like real skin.
There is a medical aphorism that “Common things occur commonly” (Anonymous). Cysts and abscesses present commonly to the acute care settings. Therefore the ability to perform I&D is a necessary skill for the healthcare professional. The SurgiReal simulated cyst/abscess tissue pad provides the most realistic training model to practice your cyst removal and I&D techniques.
- Pastorino A, Tavarez MM. Incision and Drainage. [Updated 2020 Jul 31]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-.Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556072/