Research Article

Anaerobic axillary abscess.

Br Med J 1979; 2 doi: (Published 07 July 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;2:5
  1. R D Leach,
  2. S J Eykyn,
  3. I Phillips,
  4. B Corrin,
  5. E A Taylor


    Fifty-two patients with axillary abscesses were seen during two years. Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from 34, anaerobic bacteria from 12, and skin flora from five; in one case the pus was sterile. Seven patients with hidradenitis suppurativa had recurrent infection with abscess formation, which was bilateral in three. Anaerobes were isolated in five of these cases and skin flora alone in two. Anaerobes are secondary invaders in this condition, and histological examination shows that the primary abnormality is obstruction of pilosebaceous follicles and apocrine glands, associated with keratin plugging of the follicles. Chemotherapy offers little hope of cure, although metronidazole removes the offensive smell of the discharge. Radical surgery is usually indicated.