PV Card: Skin and Soft Tissue Ultrasound

2017-03-05T14:14:36+00:00

Abscess UltrasoundWe know that ultrasonography can be used to identify soft tissue infections. But what exactly are the distinguishing features between cellulitis and abscess? Is that a foreign body? Should I put a scalpel to this soft tissue infection? This PV card, written by Drs. Alissa Genthon, Patricia Henwood, and Mike Stone, serves as a great reference card for you at the bedside.

PV Card: Skin and Soft Tissue Ultrasound


See other Paucis Verbis cards.

Scott Kobner
ALiEM New Submissions Editor
Medical Student
New York University School of Medicine
2014-15 ALiEM-EMRA Social Media and Digital Scholarship Fellow
  • John, MD

    Love the PV Cards – U/S for abscess is fantastic and sometimes it is just cellulitis, saving the patient from needles dissection with a scalpel. One caveat that isn’t mentioned in this PV is that it’s good habit to put some color on the area just to ensure 1) that there isn’t a big vessel nearby or 2) that the abscess isn’t actually a highly vascularized tumor – it seems to be frowned upon to do an incisional biopsy in the ED 🙂

  • Mike Stone

    Thanks for the feedback and suggestion, John! I agree that it’s a good idea to put Color on any part of the body you plan to approach with a needle or scalpel. While this is a nice habit to cultivate, it’s one of several things that we didn’t include in the Card as we’re trying to keep them short and sweet. Michelle – if there’s room and you’re interested we could always expand. Thanks again!

  • Thanks for the suggestion, John. Mike has kindly revised the 3rd page of the card to add a sentence or two about color doppler to help differentiate structures. Great teaching point! Power of post-publication review wins again.