Boil natural history, complications and prognosis

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Yamuna Kondapally, M.B.B.S[2]


If left untreated, patients with boils (furuncles) may progress to develop carbuncles, fever, and lymphadenopathy. The most common complications of boils include scarring and recurrence. Other complications include septicemia leading to abscess of spinal cord, brain, kidneys, or other organs. The prognosis is generally good, however, it varies with underlying risk factors.

Natural History


Common complications of furuncles include:[4][2][5][6][7]


  • Prognosis is generally good and a full recovery is expected.[6]
  • The prognosis varies with underlying risk factors or subsequent complications.


  1. Venniyil PV, Ganguly S, Kuruvila S, Devi S (2016). "A study of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in patients with pyoderma". Indian Dermatol Online J. 7 (3): 159–63. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.182373. PMC 4886585. PMID 27294048.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ibler KS, Kromann CB (2014). "Recurrent furunculosis - challenges and management: a review". Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 7: 59–64. doi:10.2147/CCID.S35302. PMC 3934592. PMID 24591845.
  3. Masiuk H, Kopron K, Grumann D, Goerke C, Kolata J, Jursa-Kulesza J; et al. (2010). "Association of recurrent furunculosis with Panton-Valentine leukocidin and the genetic background of Staphylococcus aureus". J Clin Microbiol. 48 (5): 1527–35. doi:10.1128/JCM.02094-09. PMC 2863926. PMID 20200289.
  4. ROODYN L (1954). "Staphylococcal infections in general practice". Br Med J. 2 (4900): 1322–5. PMC 2080205. PMID 13209110.
  5. Medows M, Sharma A (2013). "Lancing of a boil leading to severe invasive methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus infection in an adolescent". BMJ Case Rep. 2013. doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-200651. PMC 3863041. PMID 24336580.
  6. 6.0 6.1 MedlinePlus August 1,2016 Accessed on August 10,2016
  7. ANNING ST (1953). "Recurrent boils". Br Med J. 1 (4812): 721–3. PMC 2015621. PMID 13032475.

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