The technique for abscess drainage traditionally is incision and drainage (I&D). In August 2012, I wrote about incision and loop drainage (I&LD) , which it seems has gained popularity over time with similar outcomes.
This technique involves using a sterile vascular loop, which is thin and long enough to form a loose knotted loop. The video above by Dr. Rob Orman reviews the steps.
But, what if you don't have a vascular loop in the ED?
Trick of Trade:
Use a trimmed sterile tourniquet as the loop
Trim the tourniquet longitudinally. This strip was long and thin enough to allow us to tie a non-tensile loop through the abscess.
Tsoraides SS, Pearl RH, Stanfill AB, Wallace LJ, Vegunta RK. Incision and loop drainage: a minimally invasive technique for subcutaneous abscess management in children. J Pediatr Surg. 2010 Mar;45(3):606-9. Pubmed