What is necrotizing fasciitis?

Updated: Sep 02, 2020
  • Author: Steven A Schulz, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Necrotizing fasciitis is a rapidly progressive inflammatory infection of the fascia, with secondary necrosis of the subcutaneous tissues. The speed of spread is directly proportional to the thickness of the subcutaneous layer. Necrotizing fasciitis moves along the fascial plane. [1, 2]

Necrotizing fasciitis has also been referred to as hemolytic streptococcal gangrene, Meleney ulcer, acute dermal gangrene, hospital gangrene, suppurative fasciitis, and synergistic necrotizing cellulitis. Fournier gangrene is a form of necrotizing fasciitis that is localized to the scrotum and perineal area.

Necrotizing fasciitis may occur as a complication of a variety of surgical procedures or medical conditions, including cardiac catheterization, [4] vein sclerotherapy, [5] and diagnostic laparoscopy, [6] among others. [7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] It may also be idiopathic, as in scrotal or penile necrotizing fasciitis.

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