Friday, September 18, 2009


An accumulation of pus in the tissues. An abscess represents the battleground on which the body defends itself against invasion by foreign elements, such as bacteria and irritating chemicals. When these substances enter the tissues, the blood vessels in the area expand, bringing large white blood cells to the site; these cells are able to engulf foreign particles. The bacteria lie at the center of the abscess, surrounded by the defending white blood cells. The outcome of the battle is pus, consisting of dead white blood cells with their engulfed bacteria, dead tissues from the site of the abscess, and bacterial poisons. If the white blood cells succeed in destroying the invaders, the pus is absorbed and the abscess vanishes. If they fail, the bacteria escape into the surrounding tissue to produce new abscesses or into the blood stream to set up infections in distant organs.

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