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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Point-of-care Transperineal Ultrasound to Diagnose Abscess in the Emergency Department


Perineal and rectal pain are common presentations in the emergency department (ED). In the majority of cases, clinical examination is sufficient to detect local anorectal pathologies. However, perianal and rectal abscesses and fistulas are often the primary concerns prompting diagnostic imaging in the ED. Currently, computed tomography is the preferred imaging modality. Recently, transperineal ultrasound has emerged as an optimal imaging modality for the diagnosis of perineal and perianal abscesses. We present a case in which point-of-care ultrasound accurately detected an intersphincteric abscess, and review the appropriate ultrasound technique to evaluate patients with suspected perianal and rectal abscesses.

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