How would this change my practice?
I would consider using topical anesthetic cream prior to abscess drainage. Even though it might still need I and D, I might avoid a procedure sedation.
Because this study was a retrospective study, selection bias may have occurred. Specifically, providers may have preferentially applied topical anesthetic or chosen procedural sedation, based on undocumented characteristics. It was nice to see that mean abscess size was not different between the two groups.
ReferenceCassidy-Smith T, Mistry RD, Russo CJ, McCans K, Brown N, Capano-Wehrle LM, Drago LA, Vitale PA, Baumann BM. Topical anesthetic cream is associated with spontaneous cutaneous abscess drainage in children. Amer J Emerg Med. 2010 - in press. PMID: 21129885