Subgaleal abscess: an unusual presentation

Ann Emerg Med. 1989 Jul;18(7):785-7. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(89)80021-6.


We report a case of subgaleal abscess formation in a 16-year-old boy with varicella and minor head trauma. He presented four weeks after injury with left-sided scalp swelling and periorbital edema. There was no break in the skin over the involved area. Diagnosis was made on the basis of prolonged swelling, an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and computed tomography that showed a subgaleal fluid collection. Aspirated material grew Group A beta-hemolytic Streptococcus. Subgaleal abscess formation without an overlying wound is previously unreported. Management of subgaleal abscess usually requires operative debridement and IV antibiotics. However, in our patient, needle aspiration and oral antibiotics sufficed.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / etiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Hematoma / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Scalp*
  • Streptococcal Infections / etiology*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / isolation & purification