• Reviewing our experience with 32 surgically and 13 percutaneously drained abdominal abscesses, we propose the following criteria for computed tomography (CT)—assisted percutaneous drainage: (1) the absence of more than two abscess cavities or loculations; (2) drainage route not traversing bowel, uncontaminated organs, or uncontaminated peritoneal or pleural spaces; (3) the absence of a source of continuous contamination; and (4) the absence of fungi as causative organisms. Of nine abscesses that met these criteria, seven were successfully drained percutaneously. In all abscesses that did not meet the criteria, percutaneous drainage resulted in complications. Of the 32 surgical patients, six would have been candidates for percutaneous drainage according to these criteria. Two of those patients experienced technical complications that might have been prevented by the use of percutaneous drainage. Surgical intervention is the preferred treatment in the majority of patients; however, in properly selected patients, CT-assisted percutaneous drainage is highly successful and can prevent unnecessary morbidity and mortality.
(Arch Surg 1983;118:273-280)