carbuncle, acute inflammatory nodule of the skin caused by bacterial invasion into the hair follicles or sebaceous gland ducts. It is actually a boil, but one that has more than one focus of infection, i.e., involves several follicles or ducts. Carbuncles occur more often in men because of their more extensive body hair growth. The infection is treated by applying antibiotics systemically and directly to the lesion and by incision and drainage at the proper time.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.