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Necrotizing Fasciitis (cont.)

When Should Someone Seek Medical Care for Necrotizing Fasciitis?

Prompt identification and treatment of necrotizing fasciitis is critical in order to improve the likelihood of a favorable outcome. Because of the rapid progression of this condition, a high index of suspicion and early detection are necessary to initiate emergency treatment immediately. Those individuals with underlying medical problems or a weakened immune system need to be especially vigilant. Consult a health care professional if any of the following symptoms or signs develops:

  • An unexplained area of skin redness, warmth, tenderness or swelling, associated with or without a history of antecedent skin trauma
  • Changes in the color of the skin (dusky, purple, mottled, black) or in the texture of the skin (blisters, open wounds, hardening, crepitus)
  • Drainage from any open wound
  • Fever or chills
  • Intense pain or discomfort of a body area associated with or without prior trauma

If a person has been previously evaluated by a health care professional and there is progression of the above symptoms, or if the person fails to improve (even with antibiotic treatment at home), prompt reevaluation must occur. If necrotizing fasciitis is even suspected, an expedited surgical consult is needed.

What Specialists Treat Necrotizing Fasciitis?

A multidisciplinary team of providers is needed in the care of patients with necrotizing fasciitis. The majority of patients will initially go to an emergency department, and therefore will see an emergency-department physician. A surgeon will become involved early on in the care of these patients. Depending on which area of the body is involved, surgical subspecialists may also need to be consulted (for example, a urologist in cases of Fournier's gangrene). An infectious-disease specialist is frequently involved to help direct antibiotic treatment.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/26/2016
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