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A chronic abscess is long-standing abscess. An abscess is a well-defined collection of pus that has escaped from blood vessels and has been deposited on tissues or in tissue surfaces. Chronic abscesses can occur in multiple locations such as the jaw, lung, and groin region. The chronic nature of the abscess means that it can be present for long periods of times without any signs or symptoms, even if it continues to get larger. A chronic abscess can sometimes be surrounded by fibrous (tough) tissue, forming what is known as a granuloma that contains non-infective material but not pus. When present in the jaw, a chronic abscess can produce a dull pain with occasional swelling. The opposite of a chronic abscess is an acute abscess, which is a rapidly forming abscess. Acute abscesses are the most painful and are characterized by swelling and fever.
There is a skin disease known as hidradenitis suppurativa which presents with chronic abscesses, types of cysts, and infections in multiple locations. A cyst is an abnormal lump, swelling, or sac that contains fluid, a part solid material, or a gas, and is covered with a membrane. A membrane is a thin layer of flexible tissue that covers something.
Chronic abscesses are often also referred to as cold abscesses because they often do not present with heat, redness, fever, significant pain, or inflammation. Chronic abscess comes from the Greek word "chronos" meaning "time," the Greek word "ikos" meaning "pertaining to," and the Latin word “abscessus” meaning “a going away.” Put the words together and you have “pertaining to time going away.”