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Minerva Chirurgica 2014 April;69(2):113-19

Copyright © 2014 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Fournier’s gangrene: early diagnosis. How to diagnose, how to manage it

Polistena A. 1, 2, Cavallaro G. 1-3, D’Ermo G. 1, Avenia N. 2, De Toma G. 1

1 Department of Surgery “Pietro Valdoni”, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy; 2 Surgical Clinic, University of Perugia, Medical School, S. Maria University Hospital, Terni, Italy; 3 Department of Medico‑Surgical Sciences and Biotechnologies, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy


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Fournier’s gangrene (FG) is a rare surgical emergency and a life-threatening condition with a rapidly progressive gangrene defined as a necrotizing fasciitis of the perineal or genital areas leading to septic shock and death if untreated. Risk factors are diabetes, immune compromise, obesity, drug use, or genital trauma. Patients are treated by incision and drainage. Aim of the study is to analyze cases of early manifestations of FG and consider aspect of diagnosis based on clinical presentation and the importance of precocious surgical treatment. We had experience of early lesions of FG in 22 cases. We report three cases in which the initial clinical presentation was typical of precocious signs referable to FG. Foley catheter was used in all cases, no diverting colostomy was performed. The patients were treated by artificial i.v. feeding. No extensive demolition of perineal tissues were operated, neither plastic surgery was required. Antibiotic therapy combined to surgical treatment with incision and drainage were performed in all cases. Admission in the intensive care unit was effective when indicated. No mortality was registered in all 22 cases of the series. FG is rare, severe condition requiring a multidisciplinary approach. An early diagnosis and an aggressive surgical treatment, improved by antibiotic therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and proper wound care are the key points of FG management. In selected patients, colostomy or cystostomy must be considered when simple catheterization is not sufficient. Severe cases must be therefore referred to high-volume and specialized centres with specialist professional and intensive care facilities.

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