South Florida Surgical Group

General Surgery & Vascular Surgery located in Kendall, Miami, FL

When a boil develops, it causes a painful, swollen lump ranging from the size of a cherry stone to a walnut. At South Florida Surgical Group, Michael Renfrow, MD, FACS, and Steven Kanter, MD, FACS, specialize in removing boils and abscesses, and providing comprehensive wound care. Because they understand the pain caused by a boil, they offer same-day appointments, where you’re always seen and treated by Dr. Renfrow or Dr. Kanter, not ancillary staff. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Miami, Florida, or use the online booking feature.

Boils Q & A

What causes a boil?

A boil, or abscess, begins as an infection in a hair follicle or oil gland. The infection is caused by bacteria that normally live on your skin or that enter your skin through a cut. Boils most often appear on your face, shoulders, neck, armpits, and buttocks.

When the infection first appears, your skin turns red and a lump develops. After several days, pus collects under your skin, enlarging the lump and making it turn white.

If the infection spreads deeper under your skin, an abscess forms. In some patients, several boils appear together, causing a more serious infection that’s called a carbuncle. Your risk of developing a boil may be higher if you have diabetes, nutritional deficiencies, poor hygiene, or a weak immune system.

What symptoms develop if I have a boil?

In addition to the appearance of a painful, pus-filled lump, you may experience red, swollen skin around the boil, have a fever, or develop swollen lymph nodes near the boil. In some cases, pus may leak out of the boil. It’s important to never squeeze a boil because the pressure forces the infection deeper into your body.

An active boil is contagious through skin-to-skin contact or by sharing objects. You may avoid spreading the infection to others by covering it with a bandage and frequently washing your hands.

How do surgeons treat a boil?

As specialists in wound care, the doctors at South Florida Surgical Group often treat boils and abscesses and provide ongoing care to ensure the infection clears away and doesn’t cause an infection elsewhere in your body. 

Your doctor at South Florida Surgical Group applies a local anesthetic, makes a small incision, and then drains the infected material out of the boil or carbuncle. If the infection is too deep to thoroughly drain, your doctor may pack the area with a specialized dressing to soak up the remaining fluids.

You may also need to take antibiotics to heal severe infections or to stop recurring boils and abscesses. Additionally, your doctor may order blood tests if they have any concerns about the infection spreading.

If you develop a painful boil, don’t wait to get treatment. Schedule a same-day or next-day appointment by calling South Florida Surgical Group or using the online booking feature.