Defining the Death of Infected Tissues
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your skin may not always heal properly from a skin condition like cellulitis. When infected skin tissues die, it is called necrosis. The majority of skin infections can be cleared up with treatment but occasionally, a bacterial infection can cause improper blood flow to the wound. The edges may die because of lack of blood circulation.
The antibodies and white blood cells cannot get to the bacterial infection to help clear it up when the surrounding cells start dying. Sometimes, this bacterial infection can get out of control, spreading throughout the body. Some people unfortunately die when the infection spreads. This is necrosis at its worst.
Some skin infections that necrotize can delve deep into the skin and along the muscle surfaces. This muscle, also called fascia, can become infected too and is then called necrotizing fasciitis. Necrotizing cellulitis can form when the infection spreads to the outer layers of the skin surface. There are a variety of bacterial strains that can cause necrosis such as clostridia and streptococcus. While the streptococcus is more well-known due to the panic of flesh-eating bacteria, it is actually on equal footing with other bacteria.
Where Necrotizing Infections Can Occur
Necrosis can occur with skin infections that start from cuts or puncture wounds, especially those that might have debris in it. This debris is the likely cause of the skin infections that turn into necrosis. In addition, some infections occur from incisions during surgery, especially when the procedure occurs around the intestinal area. The infection could occur from bacteria that escape from the intestinal area. Of course, there are occasions where those bacteria could cause infection to the internal organs or even the blood.
Symptoms often start as the skin infection itself like cellulitis. However, when it progresses, the affected area looks pale at first glance but is quite warm to the touch and turns red. The area may also become swollen and inflamed. Blisters then form around the area and also turn purplish in color. The blisters fill with a foul smelling fluid and are discolored.
The skin area becomes gangrenous (dead) and black in color. Certain bacteria that cause necrosis can produce a smelly gas as well in the death of tissue. Clostridia are just one of them. By this time, the nerve endings in the necrotic skin die off and there is no sensation in the area. Fever, chills, fast heart rate and delirium can result from necrosis setting in. Blood pressure can drop due to the infection coursing through the blood stream and the body can go into septic shock.
Treatment for skin that is dying is IV antibiotics as well as the removal of the dead tissue via surgery. Amputation may occur or chunks of muscle may be lost along with skin and other tissue in order to put a stop the necrosis. Some people with necrosis may benefit from being placed in an oxygen chamber under high pressure too.