Lumbar abscesses in their own intrinsic nature are not more dangerous than others. They are rendered especially perilous only by the inefficiency of our explorations and by the consequent incompleteness of our local treatment. When thoroughly explored and kept completely disinfected, they rarely cause death.
The first step towards safety is the exploration. Here we are confronted by the published opinions of some of our ablest men, especially of the older class, insisting that the opening of lumbar abscesses and even the aspiration of them is fearfully dangerous. The limits of this paper do not permit an elaborate discussion of this antiquated opinion, which was true under old methods, but false under new ones. I shall assume that the nine cases related in this paper, as well as other established facts of antiseptic surgery, prove that where a lumbar abscess can be freely opened and kept thoroughly disinfected, there is