Although point of care ultrasound has many applications, our principal use for soft tissue ultrasound is evaluation for abscess. Point of care ultrasound can differentiate cellulitis from abscess and has been shown to change management.
1. Transverse and Longitudinal views of area of concern
Cellulitis is a diffuse inflammatory process and the resultant hypoechoic edema results in the typical “cobblestoning” seen on ultrasound.
When abscess forms in the setting of cellulitis, both cobblestoning and a defined collection of fluid may be seen on ultrasound. This fluid is typically hypoechoic or anechoic but debris may be seen within the abscess cavity as well.