Dermatologist Questions Carbuncle

My mother has a carbuncle on her back. What is the course of treatment?

My mother is 67 years old and she is suffering from a big carbuncle on her back. It is hurting her a lot and at times there is even blood and pus oozing from it. She is heavily diabetic and we are worried this could get serious. What is the best course of treatment?

7 Answers

The best course for her is to have this treated. It needs to be drained professionally and even possibly removed. Sometimes, antibiotics are necessary as well. After drainage, a shot of cortisone to the area may be needed. Since she is diabetic, it is essential that it be treated properly.

Suzanne Sirota Rozenberg, DO, FAOCD
As a specialist, I have always found it so impertinent that patients make their personal diagnosis and demand a certain 'best' treatment recommended by somebody's grandmother. It is most disrespectful to demand that your treating specialist give a course of treatment based on your personal diagnosis. First, consult a specialist and let him/her decide on the recommended treatments based on his/her diagnosis having considered her other medical conditions.
Get her to a dermatologist or other doctor ASAP to have it cultured, drained if necessary, and treated with antimicrobials, if necessary. Hot soaks may help, but from your description, it should be evaluated right away.
Carbuncles are a large boil full of pus and very inflamed. They are best treated with drainage and usually topical and sometimes oral antibiotics. 80% of the improvement can come from just drainage. Apply heat to help it come to a head, or even apply a drawing salve like an acne mask with sulfur of salicylic. They can resolve spontaneously if they are not large and if you don't make it worse by manipulating it incorrectly. Dermatologists are well-versed in treating carbuncles. Cultures usually show Staph Aureus and even MRSA, especially with larger carbuncles and if very painful.
See your primary physician. It may require culture, antibiotic therapy, or just warm compresses.

SPS
It needs to be drained, then treated with antibiotics. After it calms down, if there’s a residual cyst, it will need excision.
This is probably not a carbuncle, but an inflamed epidermal inclusion cyst. Treatment is drainage and hot compresses.