• Alternative Names

    Skin infection - staphylococcal; Infection - skin - staph; Staph skin infection; Carbunculosis


    A carbuncle is a swollen lump or mass under the skin. It may be the size of a pea or as large as a golf ball. The carbuncle may be red and irritated and might hurt when you touch it.

    It may also:

    • Grow very fast
    • Have a white or yellow center (pustule)
    • Weep, ooze, or crust
    • Spread to other skin areas

    Sometimes, other symptoms may occur. These may include:

    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • General discomfort or sick feeling
    • Skin itching before the carbuncle develops

    Signs and tests

    Your doctor will look at your skin. The diagnosis is primarily based on what the skin looks like. A skin biopsy may be done to help make the diagnosis or determine the exact type of bacteria involved.