Reply To: What is a Carbuncle?

AvatarAditya Sardana

The medical term “Carbuncle” is derived from the Latin word “Carbunculus” (red gem). Literally, “Carbunculus” (carbon- + -culus) means “a little coal”. A carbuncle is a deep-seated, localized, painful, and purulent (pus-containing) infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissues (tissues beneath the skin), which is usually caused by the pyogenic (pus-forming) bacteria – Staphylococcus aureus. A carbuncle has multiple openings that discharge pus containing necrotic (dead) matter. A carbuncle is composed of a cluster of furuncles (boils), and these boils are interconnected beneath the skin. Carbuncles commonly occur at the nape (back) of the neck, back, thighs, and buttocks. When several carbuncles occur simultaneously or in quick succession, the condition is known as Carbunculosis.