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Gangrene (cont.)

What Is the Follow-up for Gangrene?

  • Keep the affected area clean.
  • Follow the health-care provider's instructions regarding changing bandages and dressings.
  • Be sure to complete the antibiotic course that is prescribed.
  • Limit activity as much as possible for a few days.

How Do I Prevent Gangrene?

\The best weapon against gangrene is prevention.

  • Keep wounds clean and sterile by cleaning all wounds thoroughly with antiseptic solution.
  • Watch for signs of infection, such as pus, redness, swelling, or unusual pain.
  • Consult a health-care provider if any wound becomes infected.
  • People with diabetes should control their blood-sugar levels with proper medication.
  • Education about proper foot care is vital for people with diabetes. They should routinely examine their feet for any signs of injury or change in skin color. Any small injury should be immediately cared for. They should keep their nails trimmed and wear comfortable well-fitting shoes.

What Is the Outlook for Gangrene?

The outlook for a person with gangrene depends on the following factors:

  • Part of the body affected
  • The extent of gangrene
  • The cause of gangrene
  • The overall health status of the individual

The prognosis is generally favorable except in people in whom the infection has spread through the blood stream. Gangrene is usually curable in the early stages with intravenous antibiotic treatment and debridement. Without treatment, gangrene may lead to a fatal infection.

Gas gangrene can progress quickly; the spread of infection to the bloodstream is associated with a significant death rate. However, if it is diagnosed and treated early, approximately a majorityof people with gas gangrene survive without the need for any amputation.

People with dry gangrene most often have many other health problems that complicate recovery, and other system failures usually prove fatal rather than the gangrene itself.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"Necrotizing soft tissue infections"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/23/2016
Medical Author:

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Fournier Gangrene »

In 1883, 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.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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