Carbuncle Symptoms, Causes & More

By vanessa
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Carbuncle: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.' MedlinePlus,
  • 2. 'Boils and carbuncles.' Mayo Clinic, [](
  • 3. Folliculitis, Boils and Carbuncles.' Loma Linda University Health,
  • 4. 'Furuncles and Carbuncles - Dermatologic Disorders.' Merck Manuals Professional Edition,
Medical Expert Medical Expert

Carbuncle boils are protrusions that form under the skin when hair follicles become infected by bacteria. It involves a collection of pus filled bumps that comprise the infected area and usually resolves within days to weeks. The area is usually inflamed and painful, and the carbuncles can grow large, rupture and drain.

Boils most often occur on the back of the neck, the armpits, thighs, back and buttocks. The bacterium usually responsible for causing carbuncles is called staphylococcus aureus. When a number of carbuncles form beneath the skin, the condition is referred to as carbunculosis.1‘Carbuncle: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.’ MedlinePlus,


A carbuncle is a group of boils concentrated in a small area. It's an infection that occurs deep within the skin and is often filled with pus, which contains dead tissues and bacteria. The first symptom of a carbuncle is often a red, painful swelling beneath the skin.

The size of the swelling will increase over a few days and become filled with pus. A yellow-colored head will then develop from which the pus will drain. Carbuncles can measure up to four inches and are likely to leave a scar. They also take longer to heal than boils and can lead to fever and chills.


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