What is Fournier gangrene?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: Vernon M Pais, Jr, MD; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Answer

Fournier gangrene was first identified in 1883, when the French venereologist Jean Alfred Fournier described a series in which 5 previously healthy young men suffered from a rapidly progressive gangrene of the penis and scrotum without apparent cause. This condition, which came to be known as Fournier gangrene, is defined as a polymicrobial necrotizing fasciitis of the perineal, perianal, or genital areas (see the image below.) In contrast to Fournier's initial description, the disease is not limited to young people or to males, and a cause is now usually identified. [1]

Photomicrograph of Fournier gangrene (necrotizing Photomicrograph of Fournier gangrene (necrotizing fasciitis), oil immersion at 1000X magnification. Note the acute inflammatory cells in the necrotic tissue. Bacteria are located in the haziness of their cytoplasm. Courtesy of Billie Fife, MD, and Thomas A. Santora, MD.

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