Surgery and recovery

Perianal abscess surgery

Surgery for a perianal abscess is usually done under general anaesthetic and you can go home on the same day (day case). 

You can read more about having day surgery at our hospitals.

You need a responsible adult to take you home from hospital. They then need to stay with you for at least 24 hours while you recover from a general anaesthetic.

It is important that you rest for the remainder of the day.

If you need to stay in hospital after your surgery, your doctor or nurse will tell you when you can leave hospital. 

Looking after your wound

The wound will be packed with a special absorbent dressing. We remove this dressing the day after your surgery.

  • If you are discharged (leave hospital) the same day as your surgery, we'll arrange for you to return to the hospital the next day to have it removed. 
  • If you stay overnight, we'll remove it before you are discharged.  

Usually, no further packing will be needed after this in either case.

The wound may leak fluid and wearing gauze or a pad in your underwear will help absorb this.

It is important to keep the area clean with daily or twice daily showering or bathing.

Do not use soap or any perfumed products in the water until your wound has healed, as these can irritate the wound site.

Do not be alarmed if you notice some blood in the bath, as this is quite normal and will reduce in time.

You may also have had a seton stitch inserted. This is a treatment sometimes used if a fistula is found. This enables the fistula to continue to slowly drain, to reduce the chance of a further abscess forming.

If you have had a seton stitch inserted, we will arrange a follow-up appointment at the hospital. This should not be removed by your GP or practice nurse.

Recovery after surgery


You might have some discomfort after surgery. The pain gets better over the first few days. 


When you leave the hospital we might give you painkillers.
It is important that you take your prescribed painkillers regularly to keep you as comfortable as possible. However, if you only have a little pain, you might not need to take them. Always follow the instructions on the packet and never take more than the recommended amount (dose).


We do not usually prescribe antibiotics after this surgery. However we may give you a course of antibiotics if the abscess was large. Always complete the prescribed course of any antibiotics. Please make sure that you have told the doctor if you are allergic to any antibiotics and always ask if you are unsure about any of your medicines.

Going to the toilet

After this surgery, you should be able to go to the toilet and poo normally although you may experience some pain and discomfort initially. 

We might give you medicine called laxatives. They help you to poo more easily and keep your poo soft after the surgery. 

Please keep the area clean and wash the area after having a poo, although the risk of reinfecting the wound in this way is actually very low.

Contact your GP or go to your nearest A&E if:

  • you feel generally unwell
  • you have a high temperature (fever)

Returning to work and activities

The time that it takes to return to work depends on how you feel and if you have an active job.

  • Build up to your usual level of activity gradually.
  • Do not go swimming or ride a bike until your wound has healed.
  • You can have sex as soon as you feel comfortable.

Follow-up appointment

In most cases you will not need a follow-up appointment. 

If a you do need a follow-up appointment this is usually about 8 week after your surgery. We will contact you to arrange an appointment.

Resource number: 0910/VER7
Last reviewed: April 2022
Next review due: March 2024

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact the GI surgical access centre.

Phone: 020 7188 8875 (option 2)

Do you have any comments or concerns about your care?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)

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