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Classification according to ICD-10
L02 Skin abscess, boils and carbuncles
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)
Carbuncle on the buttocks of a diabetic

The carbuncle ( boil , coal bump ) is a deep and usually very painful infection of several neighboring hair follicles or the confluence of several boils lying next to each other .

The skin and subcutaneous tissue are often infiltrated as hard as a board . Numerous tissue meltdowns occur (with the formation of pus ) and, without therapy, spontaneous, often sieve-like skin ruptures, and the lymphatic vessels are also inflamed ( lymphangitis ). Fever and other general symptoms are usually present. Sites of predilection are the neck, back, shoulders, hips and thighs.

root cause

Like most skin and soft tissue infections, carbuncle is caused by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus . It is important to differentiate the carbuncle from similar clinical pictures ( erythrasma , phlegmon, etc.), as these are often triggered by other germs and accordingly require different antibiotic treatment or tend to migrate ( streptococci ).


Surgical rehabilitation must be sought. Systemic antibiotic shielding can also be useful.

In no case should a carbuncle be treated yourself, as a new infection or spread of the pathogen cannot be ruled out.

Carbuncle in skin anthrax

The carbuncles in skin anthrax are usually painless. The anthrax carbuncle is bluish-black in color, from which the medical name of the anthrax has its origin: Anthrax , from the Greek anthrax "coal" (carbuncle comes from the Latin carbunculus : "small coal").

This disease is associated with a pronounced malaise, although the cutaneous form is the manifestation of anthrax with the lowest mortality . Five to 20 percent of untreated patients die.