Skin abscesses are common in emergency departments. Collectively, skin and soft tissue infections are the third most common diagnosis after chest pain and asthma.1 Emergency residents and fellows, as well as primary care physicians need to develop competency with abscess identification and treatment through incision and drainage. A low cost model for abscess incision and drainage will allow trainees to learn and practice this basic physician procedure. Materials used include latex gloves (skin colored if available), prepared tapioca pudding, catheter tip syringe, foam rubber, small rubber bands like those used for dental braces, dense foam rubber or thin skin-like material, plastic wrap, Tegaderm, and Play-doh. The foam base can be reused.
Cut three pieces of one-inch thick foam. In the center of the top piece, cut a one-inch slit lengthwise. Through the center of the middle piece cut a ƒ inch hole. In the bottom piece cut out a small bowl shape through ƒ inch of the thickness of the foam. Stack all three pieces together. Cut off the middle finger of a large latex glove. Cut a small piece of plastic wrap, put a ½ teaspoon of tapioca in the middle of it, gather the edges of plastic and bind them with a rubber band. Put this piece inside the latex finger and nest it in the bowl of the bottom foam piece. This will serve as a deep second pocket of pus. Push remainder of finger up through the hole and slit of the middle and top foam pieces respectively. Fill the remaining portion of the finger with pudding using a syringe. Take a small piece of Playdoh and roll it into a cylinder long enough to form a circle around the exposed latex finger. Roll the latex over the Playdoh. This will represent induration. Cut a ƒ circle of dense foam or thin skin piece to cover the induration. Secure this with Tegaderm. Place model inside a large latex glove, tying open end and fingers underneath. Apply moulage to indicate erythema and infection surrounding the abscess.
Incision, drainage, irrigation, and packing were conducted performed on the model. The model was said to have a good haptic feel and would be useful for training the management of skin abscesses. The material used for this model is easily accesible and inexpensive making the model practical for simulation anywhere.
1. Ki V, Rotstein C (2008) Bacterial skin and soft tissue infections in adults: A review of their epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment and site of care. Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol 19:173–184.