Necrotizing Fasciitis

Jeff Ragatz

What is Necrotizing Fasciitis?

Necrotizing Fasciitis is a bacterial infection commonly known as the flesh eating bacteria syndrome. In most cases, while rare, the infection is caused by organisms that reside on an individuals skin. Examples of bacteria that cause Necrotizing Fasciitis are the Streptococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Early signs of Necrotizing Fasciitis include inflammation, fevers and an increased heart rate. Small, red, painful bumps may be apparent on the surface of the skin. Upon progression, sometimes as quickly as an hour, discoloration of the skin, vomiting and diarrhea occur. If left untreated after this stage, the center of the tissue may turn a shade of black and die, while simultaneously breaking open and oozing fluid. This is shown in the image below and above
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How is Necrotizing Fasciitis acquired?

Necrotizing Fasciitis is typically acquired through a small or minor wound, where one of the few bacterium's enter the body. Laying dormant in the body, the bacteria colony grows and spreads. As the colony grows, it releases toxins that kill surrounding tissue, which exposes the persons major veins and arteries to the infection, spreading it.

How is Necrotizing Fasciitis treated?

Patients suffering from Necrotizing Fasciitis will require an immediate intra-veinous administered antibiotic. Surgery will then be necessary to drain the area of fluids and remove dead tissue. After the surgery, you can use skin grafts to patch together areas of open flesh. In extreme cases, when the infection has spread up an extremity, amputation is necessary. The photo below is a skin graph covering fixed Necrotizing Fasciitis

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